This motion was passed by UCU’s Higher Education Committee (HEC) on Friday, 1st July. For information, NEC is UCU’s National Executive Committee and UUK is Universities UK:
HEC very strongly welcomes the motion passed by NEC and recognises the need for some HE specific campaigning.
HEC resolves to ask the General Secretary to contact UUK to arrange a meeting urgently to discuss common interests related to the outcome of the vote.
This should include:
1. Joint public statements opposing racism and welcoming EU and international students and staff and their very valuable contribution to UK education, research and the economy.
2. Agreement for joint work between UUK and UCU on supporting current staff and students from EU and pressurising relevant Westminster government departments for them to be given indefinite leave to remain.
3. Putting pressure on Westminster government to ensure that EU staff and students will continue to be welcome, have easy access to the UK and not be charged increased fees.
4. Putting pressure on Westminster government to ensure by appropriate mechanisms that UK staff and students (where appropriate) are still able to participate in EU research programme and exchanges on the same basis as currently.
5. Agreement for joint work between UUK and UCU on repealing restrictive conditions on international staff and students from outside the EU and introducing a more welcoming climate with regards to repeat of points based immigration requirements, reduction in fees and easier entry requirements.
HEC further resolves to:
1. Contact branches to contact their principals and VC to ask them to agree to work jointly with UCU on supporting current EU staff and students, ensuring (by appropriate means) that they are given indefinite leave to remain, and that EU staff and students will continue to be welcome in the future without increased fees or other negative conditions.
2. Produce a branch briefing to support the above.
3. Encourage branches to actively involve migrants and refugees in action round pay, gender pay gap and anti-casualisation campaign – both from our own membership and from appropriate organisations e.g. as speakers at events.
Suggested draft letter to be included in branch briefing.
Dear Principal/Vice Chancellor/Provost etc
We are writing with some urgency following the EU referendum result.
The result places [institution] staff who are current EU citizens but who do not currently have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK in a specifically vulnerable position.
Some staff have told us they have begun looking for work elsewhere in the EU. Others may find themselves having to apply for the right to continue working while in [institution] employment. We risk a brain drain while the City faces a capital flight.
The current position  is extremely unclear. Government has made no guarantees that, once two years are up and negotiations concluded, current EU citizens residing in the UK will be permitted to stay. However, during the campaign, both official Leave campaigns  pledged that such citizens would “automatically” be given this right, i.e. be given ILR.
This uncertainty helps no-one.
We believe it is time to demand that the Government agrees to the up-front commitment made by the ‘Leave’ campaigns and protects EU citizens living and working in the UK.
We are writing to invite you to support a joint public statement, from [institution] and its trade unions, to that effect.
For politicians, there are good grounds for acceding to this call. The UK can ill-afford to lose EU workers. Processing three million individual ILR applications is not feasible in the timescale available. Making this pledge would reduce the threat of a reciprocal deportation of 1.3 million British people from Europe. Finally, in the current febrile atmosphere, it would represent a clear line against those who would wish to blame migration for economic ills.
We are open to discussing the wording of a joint statement. For example, it could be extended to include demands for guarantees regarding the position of EU students and EU research funding.
However, the most immediate call, and the one that would address the fears of EU staff, would be an up-front guarantee from Government that they would be granted ILR within the next two years, independent of the outcome of any exit negotiations.