Commenting on the government paper, Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU, Punam Birly, a Partner at KPMG UK said:
“After all the talk of a ‘big generous offer’ on EU nationals, expectations have been pretty high in the business community. So it’s a surprise that today’s paper recommends what is actually quite a complicated system.
“Those affected have been desperate for security and businesses with a high proportion of EU nationals - like those in construction, food and drink manufacturing, retail and hospitality - have been eager for something straightforward that can be easily administered.
“Given the large number of EU nationals impacted by Brexit and the current lengthy process for obtaining permanent residence documents, a simplified approach would have been welcomed by all parties. Instead we seem to have a ‘big complicated offer’. Many will conclude the policy paper requires careful reading even by immigration lawyers. It’s also easy to see businesses being bombarded with concerns from confused workers.
“The paper requires every EU national, even those who already have permanent residence, to make an additional application. Although it is acknowledged that if someone already has permanent residence, the process for them to obtain settled status after Brexit will be simplified.
“Those employers who haven’t supported their EU national employees to date on the basis that immigration is a personal matter, may want to reassess that position. A person without some form of legal immigration status outside of any ‘grace period’, which could be up to two years after the withdrawal date, will be categorised as an illegal worker – that then impacts the employer as well as the individual.”
Notes to editor:
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