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Lack of reform around citizenship rules could harm economy says IPPR

IPPR has called on new Home Secretary Amber Rudd to reform citizenship rules to stop a post-Brexit brain-drain harming the economy.

Home Office figures released this morning show a rise of 14% in EU nationals applying for British citizenship in the past year, in the 12 months running up to the EU referendum poll. IPPR says that this shows the uncertainty the result of the referendum is causing. 

It is likely this is being driven by people living in the UK unsure of their status after Brexit, as the prime minister has so far refused to give a cast-iron guarantee that they can stay, according to the organisation. Given that one-in-ten NHS doctors is from the EU this is deeply worrying for our NHS - as well as the wider implications for the economy and UK plc.

IPPR calls on the government to reform our citizenship system by:

  • Granting British citizenship to all EU nationals working in the NHS to prevent a health emergency;
  • Granting indefinite leave to remain to all other EU citizens currently living in Britain;
  • Long-term EU residents and European children in our schools should be eligible for citizenship, in recognition of their particularly strong bond with our country.

IPPR research fellow, Chris Murray, said, “Some of our world-leading industries – such as financial services, technology, engineering and academia – owe their success to immigrants working alongside Brits, yet the uncertainty that Brexit has brought could impact negatively on these sectors of the economy. 

“The 14 per cent rise in applications for citizenship this morning is a sign that people are feeling uncertain. People rightly think about the uncertainties before they sign contracts, put their children in school, make investments and take on extra employees.  

“The need for clarity around the status of EU migrants is urgent and crucial for our economy. We are concerned about a larger number of highly-skilled EU nationals who may simply leave the country, causing a big brain drain that harms our economy.

“We need to keep attracting and retaining the best and brightest. We should fast-track access to citizenship for global talent. Our slow and bureaucratic system risks encouraging them to look elsewhere. And hard-working, well-integrated migrants should get a helping hand. The government should loan them the money to pay off the fee for citizenship over time. This is in the interests of our economy as much as in the interests of these migrants.”

Picture courtesy of Pixabay 

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