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Has the EU settlement scheme reassured you and your employees?

By Chris Dawson June 25, 2018 - 10:50 am

One of the issues retailers are facing which was highlighted in our recent White Paper on Harnessing volatility, in partnership with Currencies Direct, is the difficulty already being seen by online retailers in retaining staff. It was welcome last week that Home Office Minister, Caroline Nokes, made a statement in the House of Commons on the EU settlement scheme, but here at Tamebay we don’t think it goes far enough.

“We have seen a reduction in the available workforce, with many EU citizens unwilling to come to the UK to work. In addition, many of our current employees who are EU nationals have left to go back to their home country or moved on to another EU country. There is a sense of unease.”
– Tamebay Reader

The minister said that throughout the settled status application process, officials will be will be looking to grant applications, not for reasons to refuse them but this still leaves a level of uncertainty for many workers.

“If they have lived here continuously for five years they will be eligible for settled status. Those who have lived here for less than five years will generally be granted pre-settled status and be able to apply for settled status once they reach the five-year point.”
– Caroline Nokes, Home Office Minister

(You can watch the full EU settlement scheme statement on Parliament TV)

The problem is, there’s little point becoming established in a country if you might be kicked out. Should you buy a house? Should you even buy a car? How much will you lose if you’re kicked out at short notice? What about your possessions? It’s impossible to set up a stable home and life if you’re not certain you can stay.

This isn’t an issue which only impacts ecommerce and retail workers but is affecting our national institutions. I was talking a a Spanish nurse a few days ago who said even if she is allowed to stay, she’s not sure of the tax situation, doesn’t know the costs of re-entering the country if she visits her home country and frankly is concerned for her future.

When the Brexit referendum first took place, there were calls on the Prime Minister to immediately announce that EU nationals living in the UK would be able to stay. This was offered up as a bartering chip hoping for a vague promise that the EU would reciprocate with UK nationals living elsewhere in the UK. Swiftly brushed aside in a “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” waiting game, it leaves uncertainty for workers and their employers.

We welcome the Minister’s reassurances, but in reality they aren’t very reassuring for the real people who are affected. Reassurances are good, but if I was a worker thinking about a career and a choice of the UK or elsewhere in the EU today, frankly I’d probably choose the EU.

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