Keeping our capital working for the UK

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Certainty for EU citizens top priority for business

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of London First


As the EU bill goes to the House of Lords, I’m urging Members to support an amendment to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK. I have called on Peers to speak out in favour of the proposed amendments to the European Union Withdrawal Bill on this subject.

Certainty for people living and working here is the top priority for London First members, and for employers across the country. We need certainty for staff, so both businesses and employees can plan for their futures.

EU nationals support vital sectors including social care, childcare, nursing, finance, construction, hospitality and many others. If existing visa rules were applied to the EU workers in London alone, only one in five would be entitled to stay here – a potential loss of 800,000 people who contribute to our economy every day.

We have an obligation to protect the rights of people who moved to this country and were hired by businesses in good faith. There is widespread support for this:
• Polling from ICM for British Future found that 84 per cent of the British public supports letting EU citizens stay – including three-quarters (77 per cent) of Leave voters – with any future changes only applying to new migrants.
• The official Vote Leave campaign proposed that there should be ‘no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. These EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present.’

While the question of British nationals living in other member states also needs to be dealt with, we should not wait to do the right thing for EU citizens living here. We should lead by example and give security to millions of people across the country who are currently living in limbo.

London First has been doing a lot of work on how to keep our capital a leading global hub, post-Brexit. This short film captures key research from our report London 2036: an agenda for jobs and growth.

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