Details of how EU citizens will be able to claim settled status in the UK will bring "clarity and certainty" to 170,000 workers in the retail industry, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The BRC was responding to fresh information, set out by immigration minister Caroline Nokes in the House of Commons this week, on how EU nationals will be able to confirm their right to live and work in the UK after the UK leaves the European Union.
Nokes said that the process would be straightforward. "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."
She added: "First, applicants will need to prove their identity and nationality. For those who wish to complete the application entirely online, there will be an app that will allow EU citizens to confirm the relevant details remotely either using their own mobile phone or tablet, or at a location established for them to use the app or be helped to do so." Other steps will include showing that the applicant is resident in the UK, and that they have no criminal convictions that would stand in the way of their continued residence. She added: "Throughout the process, we will be looking to grant applications, not for reasons to refuse them."
Responding to the news, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said this would be welcomed by retailers and their supply chains. "Providing clarity and certainty for the 170,000 EU colleagues working in the industry has been at the forefront of retailers’ minds since the Brexit referendum, as outlined in our People Roadmap. The BRC will be launching a toolkit in due course to support retailers and their EU colleagues understand what steps they need to take to apply for the news status.
"As we look ahead to the UK’s new immigration system it is essential the government recognises the valuable contribution EU citizens make across the retail industry and their supply chains. We have the opportunity to design a new, sustainable immigration system that recognises the changing nature of retail, and has the confidence of the public."
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