Sammy Welcomes Brexit Committee Report On
Status Of EU Nationals In UK & UK Nationals In EU
Sammy is a member of the Westminster Select Committee on Brexit and has welcomed the findings of the latest report from the Committee on the status of EU and UK nationals and the need for their rights to be guarded as we leave the EU.
The report calls on the Government to act now to safeguard the rights of these citizens and also to ensure that healthcare and pension rights are safeguarded after Brexit.
During our evidence sessions we heard the real concerns of both groups and it is important to note that there was no dissent from the call for rights to be safeguarded and for this to be made a priority. It sends out an important message to those who live and work in the UK that there is no intention to have them evicted once Brexit occurs. In fact the report emphasises the role which they play in our economy and the rights which they have already acquired by virtue of the time they have spent here. I know that many of my East Antrim constituents who have spoken to me on this issue will welcome the All Party nature of the support which this report has. The committee recognised the attempts by the Government to resolve this issue with EU partners and expressed its regret that this has not proved possible.
The report notes that there is much work to be done in identifying all the EU nationals living in the UK and simplifying the procedure by which they would apply for leave to remain. It is unacceptable that in order to obtain permanent residence, applicants have to fill in an 85 page form and provide documentary evidence of every time they left the UK going back years, records which the committee rightly deemed were almost impossible to produce in many cases and were totally irrelevant.
Employers had expressed concern about possible labour shortages after Brexit and the Committee has recognised those concerns and suggested that there needs to be greater resources devoted to training UK workers and an immigration policy which reflects geographical and sectoral requirements for immigrant labour.
For those in Northern Ireland, especially Sinn Fein, who have ensured that the Northern Ireland input into shaping the Government response to the Brexit vote through their disruption of the Northern Ireland Assembly, this report shows that those of us who encouraged a leave vote are also ensuring that the issues which that vote has produced are being addressed in a balanced and responsible way .