The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has sent a joint letter with the TUC to Theresa May on EU migrants’ right to remain, claiming it is an ‘avoidable uncertainty’.
The letter to the Prime Minister calls on her to end the uncertainty for workers and businesses by confirming that the government will give current EU migrants a right to remain after Brexit.
In Lincolnshire, the NFU has recently warned that unless action is taken to deal with the migrant labour shortage, crops in Lincolnshire fields could rot in the ground.
Other industries across the county are also reliant upon migrant workers.
The letter, from BCC Director General Adam Marshall and TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, says that the Prime Minister should make this commitment unilaterally as it is both morally right and also in the interests of the British economy.
It also says that the confirmation would send a signal of goodwill to the EU that will benefit the UK’s negotiating position.
BCC Director General Adam Marshall said: “Business communities across the UK are deeply frustrated that ministers have declined to guarantee the residence rights of their EU employees and colleagues.
Some firms are already losing key members of staff due to this avoidable uncertainty.
“It is within the government’s gift to give an early Christmas present to businesses and employees across the country, and make an unequivocal commitment that EU citizens currently working here will have a permanent right to remain in the UK.
“Such a move before the start of a complex Brexit negotiation would be bold, but it is the right thing to do for the individuals affected, for the businesses that employ them, and for the economy as a whole.”
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This uncertainty is hugely worrying for working people and their families who have made Britain their home.
“It’s the right thing to do. But it’s also about what is right for Britain too. Continued doubt about the status of workers from the rest of the EU is bad for business.
“The government must also crack down on the minority of employers who exploit migrants and undercut wages in the local community.”