In a statement to Parliament on 9 October, May said: "During the [Brexit] implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK; but there will be a registration system – an essential preparation for the new immigration system required to re-take control of our borders.
“And our intention is that new arrivals would be subject to new rules for EU citizens on long-term settlement.”
In response, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “… eating and drinking out businesses will need swift clarity around the Prime Minister’s comments on immigration registration. It is vital that costs are kept to a minimum, and hospitality operators will need assurances that any system is based on notification, not registration.”
Nicholls said she welcomed assurances from the Prime Minister, made in the same speech to Parliament, that robust outcomes, not time constraints, will drive Brexit trade negotiations, and that May had committed to minimising disruption for businesses.
“With food inflation and the cost of living high and rising, our sector’s heavy reliance on foreign workers means we need the confidence to be able to plan and continue growth for the benefit of our businesses, workers and the UK’s economy," said Nicholls. "Disruptions and further costs simply aren’t tenable for many venues.”
Pub industry employers have previously expressed concerns about the impact of Brexit on their ability to attract, employ and retain EU nationals as staff.
In February this year, even Brexit minister David Davis admitted it would take “years and years” before British workers fill the jobs gap left by EU workers.
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