Securing the rights of the manufacturing workforce after Brexit

Posted on 26 Apr 2019 by The Manufacturer

British manufacturing is a hallmark of quality around the world, but underpinning these high standards is a committed workforce that hail not only from the UK but also from many countries in the EU. Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes, explains how manufacturers can support their EU employees.

An apprenticeship is neither cheap labour, nor a stop-gap while you find out what you want to do as a career.
Brexit has been an unsettling time for EU citizens – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

On the shop floors in Birmingham to the factories in Scotland, there are 300,000 EU citizens working today, part of more than three million EU citizens who have chosen to make the UK their home.

They’ve made a huge contribution to our manufacturing sector and we hope they continue to do so.

Brexit has been an unsettling time for EU citizens, and as Minister for Immigration, I’ve met people who worry about the changes our country is going through and what it means for them.

Our message to EU citizens has been the same since we began the process of leaving the EU. We want them to stay – whether we leave with a deal or without one – and it is my firm priority to ensure they continue to feel welcome here.

To this end, we are helping EU citizens secure their rights after Brexit through the EU Settlement Scheme, which launched on 30 March.

It’s a free, simple and straightforward service, which has been carefully designed with the help of over 200,000 people who have trialled it. Those who apply will receive the status they need to stay in the UK after Brexit for as long as they wish.

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Provide certainty to your European workforce at an uncertain time

We have worked hard to make the process as quick as possible. We check just three things – identity, criminality and residency. Almost four in five people in the trial didn’t have to provide any additional documentation, and I spoke to one Portuguese citizen who received status within just three hours of applying.

We are making full use of modern technology. Confirmation of settled status will be stored digitally rather than having to worry about losing pieces of paper. Passports can be scanned straight away on a smartphone app rather than sending it in the post.

If you are an EU citizen, I urge you to apply. I want you to stay and to continue to call Britain your home. I am confident that this Scheme will provide you with the certainty you need.

Caroline Nokes, Minister of State for Immigration is pictured.
Caroline Nokes, Minister of State for Immigration is pictured.

The government is doing all it can to spread this message and we’ve invested millions of pounds in a marketing campaign, visible at around 6,000 sites in every corner of the UK including in every major city. This won’t be enough, however, because we need help from the employers and co-workers of EU citizens to spread the word further.

If you employ EU citizens, I urge you to look at our employer toolkit. We have made posters you can put up in staff rooms, factsheets you can add to newsletters and videos you can put on your intranet.

We have worked with the British Chambers of Commerce, Make UK (formerly the Engineering Employers Federation) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to make sure they meet your needs. It is vital that we work together to get the message far and wide. The toolkit is online and available here.

As the UK leaves the EU, our relationship with Europe will undoubtedly change, but through the EU Settlement Scheme, I will ensure that EU citizens can live their lives as before and continue to support our world class manufacturing sector.