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May’s opening offer on EU nurses given cautious welcome

An offer by prime minister Theresa May to give EU citizens the right to remain in the UK after Brexit receives cautious welcome from healthcare professionals.
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Health organisations have given a cautious welcome to prime minister Theresa May's proposal to give European Union (EU) citizens the right to remain in the UK after Brexit.

Ms May suggested EU citizens could be given the same rights as British citizens, providing they have lived in the UK for five years before a cutoff date, which could fall at any time up to 29 March 2019, the date the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.

Those who arrive after the cutoff date would be given a two-year grace period to apply for a work permit or return home.

The prime minister said the offer, which she made during a dinner with EU leaders in Brussels, was

Health organisations have given a cautious welcome to prime minister Theresa May's proposal to give European Union (EU) citizens the right to remain in the UK after Brexit.

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Spanish nurse Joan Pons Laplana (centre) and other EU nationals lobby MPs in
February over their right to remain in UK after Brexit. Picture: Barney Newman

Ms May suggested EU citizens could be given the same rights as British citizens, providing they have lived in the UK for five years before a cutoff date, which could fall at any time up to 29 March 2019, the date the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.

Those who arrive after the cutoff date would be given a two-year grace period to apply for a work permit or return home.

The prime minister said the offer, which she made during a dinner with EU leaders in Brussels, was subject to a reciprocal deal for the estimated one million Britons living in the EU.

The Cavendish Coalition, a group of health and social care organisations including the RCN and public services trade union Unison that was set up to ensure there are enough nurses and healthcare workers in place following Brexit, said it was a step in the right direction.

Welcome steps

Cavendish Coalition co-convenor Danny Mortimer said: ‘We welcome the steps put forward by the prime minister, which would offer certainty to the 165,000 health and care staff who deliver vital services to communities in England.

‘Although this news is a step in the right direction, we echo the concern of other industries if the cutoff date for entitlement to remain was set prior to the actual date of Brexit.

‘This would disadvantage colleagues who have come to the UK in the past 12 months.’

Spanish nurse Joan Pons Laplana, who works at the James Paget University Hospital in Great Yarmouth, said it was a case of ‘big headlines and no substance’.

‘It leaves a lot of questions,’ he said.

 

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