EU nationals must not be used as pawns in Brexit negotiations, says UCU

5 July 2016

UCU has called on the government and all Conservative party leadership candidates to make a firm commitment that all EU nationals already in the country can stay.

The union was responding to a refusal from Tory frontrunner Theresa May to confirm that EU nationals could stay and the suggestion that their status could be up for negotiation as part of Britain's Brexit strategy.

EU staff make up around 15% of UK universities' academic workforce and the union said they make a huge contribution socially and economically to the country. UCU said refusal to confirm they are welcome to stay in the country or even doubt about their future status risked causing serious damage to the UK's reputation.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Politicians have been ducking the difficult fall-out of the Brexit vote for too long. It is simply not acceptable to try and use EU nationals who have been living, working and paying tax in this country as pawns in any Brexit negotiations.

'It's time for the government, and those who wish to lead it, to clearly state that EU nationals can remain in this country.'

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