The Brexit secretary, David Davis has sought to reassure employers there will be a swift deal to protect the rights of EU citizens living in Britain now that exit negotiations are under way.
The government has made it very clear it wants to secure the rights of EU nationals living in Britain at the earliest chance in the negotiations, Davis told the Prosperity UK conference. I am confident we can achieve very early agreement on these issues.
Concern over the uncertainty faced by millions of people across Europe was echoed by business leaders at Wednesday’s conference.
“We have 3,000 employees in the UK who have EU passports,” said Jes Staley, the chief executive of Barclays. “We would love to be able to give certainty to them as soon as possible that they are secure. Intellectual capital is the most important asset that London has.”
Davis insisted he was listening to the concerns of business on the issue, though he hinted that immigration policy might prioritise skilled visas.
“No one wants to pull up the drawbridge. A global Britain will always want the brightest and the best,” he said. “The UK departure from the EU should not be viewed through a protectionist lens.”