Theresa May tells EU workers ‘we want you to stay’ after detailing Brexit negotiations

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Invaluable contribution: Theresa May tells EU nationals "we want you to stay"
Invaluable contribution: Theresa May tells EU nationals "we want you to stay"

Related tags: European union

Theresa May has detailed the UK’s offer on EU national's employment rights as part of Brexit negotiations yesterday (26 June), guaranteeing that none will be asked to leave at the point of Brexit.

Following last week’s announcement in Brussels​ the Prime Minister set out key details of the agreement in a statement to the House of Commons.

She said: “EU Citizens make an invaluable contribution to our United Kingdom, to our economy, our public services, and our everyday lives.

“They are an integral part of the economic, cultural and social fabric of our country and I have always been clear that I want to protect their rights.”

The Prime Minister listed nine key details of the proposals, and stated that no EU citizen currently living in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave at the point the UK leaves the EU – and said “we want you to stay”.

UK settled status

The proposals – which will only be put in place if they are reciprocated – say that any EU citizen currently in the UK with five years residency, at a specified cut-off date, will be granted settled status.

They will be treated as if they were UK citizens for health care, education, benefits and pensions.

May said the specified cut-off date will be the subject of discussions, but it will be no earlier than the date article 50 was triggered, and no later than the date the UK leaves the EU.

These plans will allow around 3m EU nationals to stay living in the country.

No families will be split up

May also reassured the public that no families will be split up.

Family dependents who join a qualifying EU citizen here before the UK’s exit will be able to apply for a settled status after five years. And, after the UK has left the European Union, EU citizens with settled status will be able to bring family members from overseas on the same terms as British nationals.

May also said there would be no “cliff edge”, and that there will be a grace period of up to two years to allow people to regularise their status.

Positively received

The statement was positively received by the Association of licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), as a “clear and unambiguous” signal that the package provides the stability and access to labour for which Britain’s eating and drinking out sector has been calling.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said pub operators will be relieved that the detail provided today “lives up to the positive signals that the Prime Minister gave in Brussels last week”.

Nicholls said there is “undoubtedly” a long way to go before final details are agreed, but this sends the right message to EU nationals – “that they are welcome to work in the UK and, as taxpayers, enjoy the advantages of the country in the same way as any other taxpayer”.

Government “back in its stride”

Yesterday's agreement with the DUP​, for a working agreement that includes Brexit, alongside this promising employment proposal, is a welcome demonstration that Government is “back in its stride”, added Nicholls.

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I welcome that the Government has now set out proposals that make clear that staff in our industry can remain in the UK after Brexit.

“I hope that an agreement can now be reached quickly on this vital issue, given the large number of EU citizens working in the hospitality industry.”

Related topics: Legislation

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