BCC: No deal advice on EU citizens long overdue

10 Dec 2018


As the UK prepares for Brexit, in the event of a deal, EU nationals in the UK and Britons in the EU – plus family members – will retain residency and social security rights after Brexit. Freedom to move and live within the EU and UK continues during the transition period. People will be allowed to stay when it ends and apply for permanent residence after five years.

However, the right for British citizens settled in an EU country to move freely after Brexit within the bloc – as they currently can – remains up in the air and subject to a possible future agreement.

Commenting on the publication of the policy paper by DExEU on the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of no deal, Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment and Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“While it is long overdue, businesses and EU citizens in the UK will welcome the clarity on how the EU Settlement Scheme will operate in the event of no deal.

“Advice on EU nationals was glaringly absent from the no deal technical notices published by the government over the summer, leaving firms without clear guidance on whether and how they could access European skills and labour if a deal isn’t agreed. Business has been clear that it does not want a messy or disorderly Brexit, but it remains necessary for firms to prepare for all eventualities. Given the quite significant difference between the outcome of deal or no deal, businesses could be forgiven for thinking this is too short a time scale to plan for major changes to their recruitment processes.

“The government must now urgently publish the much-delayed Immigration White Paper to provide firms with long-term certainty as to how they’ll be able to find the necessary skills in the future to plug local shortages.”