VC Message to EU/EEA Staff

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to give you an update on where things stand for our EU staff. I know many of you will be concerned, and though there is not a lot to report, I wanted to let you know the current state of play.

You will be aware that, on 26 June 2017, the UK government published  their proposals ‘Safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU’. The University welcomes the UK government's statement that their ‘first priority is to reach agreement on the post-exit position of EU citizens now living in the UK and of UK nationals living in other EU countries.’ This is also the priority for the European Commission. We hope that this shared commitment will bring an early agreement which provides appropriate safeguards and certainty to our colleagues from EU countries and their families.

We are conscious that negotiations have only just commenced and there are significant differences between the parties which must be addressed before an agreement will be reached. We understand the concerns which this uncertainty will have on our EU staff and their families. We appreciate that the regular updates in the media, particularly at the time of the monthly round of UK-EU meetings on Brexit, may also be unsettling for you: please be assured that whilst we won’t be commenting on all these updates I can promise you that the University is working with the Russell Group and Universities UK to influence the UK government to ensure that the interests of EU staff and students are taken into account. Many of you will have read about the statement made by the Russell Group last week which was reported in The Independent and The I (see the link below to the statement).

Once again, can I restate how much we value and understand the crucial role that you play in our University and the UK as a whole. We will continue to press the government at every opportunity to resolve the situation at the earliest possibility. In the meantime, please make sure that you use the services of our human resources team ( if you have any concerns. I know this is a difficult time for you and your families, but please know that we are doing all we can to make sure that we get the right outcome for you all.

As soon as there is something concrete to report I will of course write to you all again. 

With best wishes,


Professor Sir Steve Smith
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive
University of Exeter

Further information

UK government proposals: see ‘Safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU or, for a summary of the UK government proposals, see its policy paper fact file

The University's webpages for EU/EEA staff ( provide a summary of the UK government's proposals and additional information

The Russell Group published a briefing note on 3 August 2017 setting out areas where further clarity over the future rights of EU citizens after Brexit is needed

The Universities UK “Policy priorities to support universities to thrive post-exit” can be found at

For The Independent's and The I’s reports of last week's Russell Group briefing see and