A call for evidence was issued today by a new Inquiry, chaired by Gisela Stuart MP, former Chair of the Vote Leave campaign, examining the practicalities of how the Government can protect the rights of the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit.
The Inquiry will meet in September and October 2016 and has cross-party, business and trade union support. The full Inquiry panel comprises: Gisela Stuart MP (Chair); Suella Fernandes MP; Suzanne Evans of UKIP; Kate Green MP; Fraser Nelson, Editor of the Spectator; Seamus Nevin of the Institute of Directors; Owen Tudor, TUC; Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex; and Sunder Katwala, British Future.
It will report in autumn/winter 2016, setting out recommendations about how to resolve the status of EU nationals living in the UK.
ICM research for British Future finds that 84% of the British public supports letting EU migrants stay – including three-quarters (77%) of Leave voters – with any future changes to freedom of movement applying only to new migrants. The Government has stated that it anticipates that this will happen, though the delay in doing so is causing unnecessary anxiety for EU migrants and uncertainty for businesses that rely on their labour.
The Inquiry will start from the principled position that letting EU citizens stay in the UK is the right thing to do. Its aim will be to examine how to make this work in practice, and to make practical recommendations to the Government. Questions that it may consider could include:
- The kind of legal status that EU citizens are granted, and whether that will apply to all EU citizens in the UK;
- Managing cut-off dates for changes to the status of EU citizens in the UK;
- Will there be an increase in migration to the UK ahead of the cut-off date and how can it be managed?
- Healthcare and welfare rights;
- How should EU citizens be required to prove their residency in the UK?
Gisela Stuart MP, who is chairing the Inquiry, said:
“There is wide agreement, among the public, politicians and business, that EU citizens are welcome here and that the Government should make clear they can stay.
“This is the right thing to do and what the Leave campaign promised all along.
“We must honour that promise and we should do it soon – it’s not right that people are left in limbo waiting to hear what their future holds.
“Once that happens – and I’m confident it will – there will then be a whole series of practical questions that need to be answered. What legal status people will people have? How do they prove eligibility to stay? When is the cut-off date and how do we manage any possible migration surge ahead of it?
“What this Inquiry sets out to do is consult people and organisations with expertise on these questions and make practical recommendations to the Government about how to resolve them swiftly and in everyone’s best interests.”
Those wishing to submit evidence to the Inquiry should contact British Future, the secretariat of the Inquiry, at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the Inquiry can be found in the call for evidence.