Government’s offer to EU citizens positively received by sector

Theresa May has provided further details today on her proposals for the rights of the 3.2 million EU citizens living in the UK.

The publication today of a 15-page document outlining the proposals follows her speech to other EU leaders in Brussels last week where she announced EU nationals resident in the UK for more than five years will be offered “settled status”, subject to reciprocity from the EU.

Those granted settled status will be able to bring over spouses and children and live, work, study and claim benefits as they can now. EU nationals in the UK for less than five years at the specified date will be able to continue living and working in the UK and apply for temporary residency until they have been here for five years, when they can apply for settled status.

Those who come after an as-yet-undecided cut-off point between 29 March 2017 and 29 March 2019 will be allowed to remain in the UK temporarily and may become eligible to settle permanently, depending on their circumstances. The application process for residency will also be “streamlined”.

The statement was positively received by the 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”.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Pub, restaurant, club and coffee shop operators will be relieved that the detail provided today lives up to the positive signals that the Prime Minister gave in Brussels last week. We share her sentiment of not turning our backs on our colleagues and those that ensure the smooth operation of the UK’s eating and drinking out sector.

“Among the new detail, we welcome in particular, the assurances that registration for migrant employees will be streamlined, reducing the administrative burden for employers and simplifying the process for workers. The Prime Minister’s assurances that provisions will be made to help EU workers’ families live with them in the UK will mean that nobody will have to choose between their job and their family.

“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.

“Today’s earlier 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. That can only be good for Britain, society and business, providing the stability that is so crucial to our members’ budgetary and growth planning.”

British Beer and Pub Aassociation (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “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. For all our members, they are essential and highly valued colleagues who deserve certainly over their future in the UK.”

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