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East Midlands Chamber News

Citizens rights secured, Home Secretary tells BCC

The rights of EU citizens in the UK and of UK nationals living in the EU have been secured, the Home Secretary has told the British Chambers of Commerce.

Surveys have shown that about half of East Midlands Chamber members employ people from the EU, often in posititions where skills shortages mean suitable candidates couldn't be found domestically.

In a letter emailed yesterday to Adam Marshall, Director General at BCC, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP said: "I am writing to update you on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU following last week’s agreement at the European Council.

"Moving negotiations between the UK and the EU to a discussion about our future relationship is good news for EU citizens living and working in the UK and for all the organisations that employ them. It should also be welcomed by everyone in this country who relies on the expertise, services and support that EU citizens provide as valued members of UK society."

The letter went on to say: "EU citizens living lawfully here before the UK’s exit from the EU will be able to stay. The deal will respect the rights that individuals are exercising and the benefits they currently have. This will help EU citizens and organisations alike plan for the future.

"The agreement will not only enable families who have built their lives in the EU and UK to stay together, it also gives certainty about healthcare, pensions and other benefits. It also includes reciprocal rules to protect existing decisions to recognise professional qualifications, for example for doctors and architects."

The commitment "will be locked into a binding and reciprocal agreement with the EU", the letter said.

You can read the agreement at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf.

EU citizens will need to apply to obtain status in UK law.

A new, transparent, smooth and streamlined process to enable them to apply for settled status will start during the second half of 2018 and remain open for at least two years after the UK leaves the EU, said the letter, adding that communicating the latest position to EU citizens in the UK was now a priority for Government and that there were plans to bring forward the Immigration Bill announced in the Queen's Speech.

The letter, which can be read here, concludes: "I hope this email provides reassurance to you and your members and I look forward to sharing further progress with you over the coming months. I welcome your contribution to ongoing engagement on both the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and also the development of our future immigration system."