More confusion over the fate of EU expats working in Britain

Published:  3 Mar at 6 PM
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As the triggering of Article 50 draws nearer and hard information on the plight of EU citizens in the UK becomes even more difficult to obtain, one British media outlet is saying multi-year visas will be issued post-Brexit.

However tempting the prospect of multi-year visas for EU citizens working in the UK might be, the present-day fact is that the cut-off date for the EU immigrant community may be just weeks away or it may take place any time later. Exact information is crucial, as the cut-off refers to the date after which no EU citizen without a visa can legally stay in the UK.

According to the Sunday Times, the UK government intends to take full control over the immigration process, and will be issuing five-year work visas applicable to certain sectors of employment for those arriving from EU countries. The newspaper also states arrivals from the EU will not be able to claim benefits during their stay, although this was later denied by a British government spokesperson.

As regards entitlement to remain in the UK, the Sunday Times article states the government is still enthusiastic about guaranteeing rights to remain after Brexit is triggered for EU citizens living in the UK, but is still insisting the agreement must be reciprocal as regards UK expats living in EU member states. Sectors being considered for the five-year visa include software engineering, hospitality, social care and health and farming, all of which need large numbers of migrant workers in order to survive.

However, figures from the Office of National Statistics show falls in net migration to the UK, with numbers for September 2015 through the same date in 2016 falling by 49,000. Also, Polish nationals are increasing deciding to return to the home country, but record numbers of Romanians and Bulgarian nationals are heading to Britain.
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