Pro-Brexit campaigner and J D Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin has called on the government to unilaterally grant EU residents in the UK the right to stay.
Martin, a strong voice during Brexit campaigning for the UK to leave the EU has says that as a ‘good’ exit deal with the EU seems unlikely and it would be in the UK’s best interests to grant immigrants the right to remain in order to carry out vital jobs.
‘I, and many others, believe that the government, the media and most economists are wrong in believing that a sensible post-Brexit arrangement can be agreed by normal trading negotiations,’ he said.
‘In this context, since virtually no-one wants hard-working immigrants from the EU to leave the UK, the government should start by unilaterally granting them the right to stay. Their efforts benefit our economy.
‘We have low unemployment and are also one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Immigrants carry out vital jobs in the health service, in the professions and in many other areas of UK life, as UK voters understand.’
However, he added that a system similar to Australia, New Zealand or Singapore, where future immigration is based on economic need, not ‘the whim of unelected officials’ was needed.
He also added that the UK government should focus on trying to reach free trade deals with other willing countries around the world, and abandon negotiations with the EU.
The fate of EU workers has long been a concern for the hospitality industry, which relies heavily upon employees from outside the UK. However, no ruling has yet been made on the rights of EU citizens in the UK, or UK citizens living in the EU.