It goes without saying that EU nationals make an invaluable contribution to our economy, our society and our daily lives, especially in our constituency of Boston and Skegness. There will be no immediate change to their status in the UK.
The discussions that the Government has with the European Union to agree the arrangements for the UK’s exit will undoubtedly reflect the immense contribution made by EU citizens to our economy, our NHS and our schools, and in so many other ways. However I am clear they must also secure the interests of the 1.2 million British citizens who live and work elsewhere in the EU.
I raised this issue directly with the Prime Minister in the Commons recently noting that EU nationals in our constituency want their rights to be reassured. I was pleased that Theresa May expects to be able to provide reassurances to both EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in other EU countries at an early stage in her renegotiations. You can read my question here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-02-06/debates/3321CE93-B49F-426D-897E-6105183667E3/InformalEuropeanCouncil#contribution-6068CCA5-FFD0-4AC6-905C-5027EC98C946
I am confident that we will be able to work to secure and guarantee the legal status of EU nationals living here as well as the rights of British citizens abroad, but I do feel that this would be best done through reciprocal discussions with the European Union as part of the negotiations to leave the EU.
It is in the best interests of all for the Government to conduct detailed work on this issue, and for the Prime Minister to decide the best way forward as quickly as possible. In the meantime, let me stress that EU nationals continue to be welcome here.