The was a glimmer of hope for EU nationals living in the UK last night, as Theresa May announced an offer which would allow those resident for five years, the right to stay.
Addressing the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels May said: ‘The UK’s position represents a fair and serious offer, and one aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives and contributing so much to our society.’
However, the announcement was notably criticised today by European Council president Donald Tusk, who said it was ‘below expectations’. The EU is seeking to secure the ‘full rights’ of all 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.2 million British expats on the continent.
It is believed around 23% of the hospitality workforce in the UK is made up of EU workers. A KPMG report in March found that without EU workers, hospitality would face a recruitment shortfall of around 60,000 workers per year.
‘Theresa May’s desire to give citizens who have settled in the UK certainty is most welcome, as we have continually called for clarity for our workforce,’ Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said.
‘We also want to see progress on robust transitional arrangements to run over a number of years, and efforts towards ensuring trade is as free as possible, with frictionless customs arrangements between Britain and the EU.’
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls added: ‘The prime minister’s statement is a welcome indication that the Government recognises the value of EU workers to the UK economy, and that a sensible solution will prevail. This has the makings of an insightful and pragmatic step to safeguard the rights of EU workers’ rights and, in turn, economic growth.
‘Around 180,000 workers in eating and drinking out businesses are EU nationals. This is a huge part of a workforce that plays a significant role in the UK’s economy.’