EU citizens leave toxic Britain in their droves

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI

Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, TUC
Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, TUC

Open letter

Dear Carolyn Fairbairn and Frances O'Grady,

On 28 September 2017, you called for unilateral guarantees for EU27 citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU27 "within weeks".

Since then nothing has happened. Instead, tens of thousands of EU 27 citizens continue to leave Britain.

Alejandro*, an IT specialist from Spain, told us:

"Britain has become a kind of toxic environment for my family and me.  I have a good job, but why should my partner and I have to justify our existence every time we try to move flat or if our daughter needs treatment on the NHS?"

The  Home Office's "hostile environment" strategy is working. It has also become a national disgrace. 

The strategy is bad for British industry, for British public services, for British universities, for art and culture in Britain, for British retailers and for British farms.

Giorgios*, one of our business members, is relocating to Germany.  He told us:

"It's not because I think it might be  harder to trade tomorrow.   It's because I'm finding it harder to recruit today."

As well as the economic damage - small, high tech firms are most at risk - there is also a growing human dimension to this tragedy.

More and more of our members are reporting heightened levels of anxiety and emotional distress . They tell us this is a direct consequence of lack of clarity about their future rights and status in the UK.

There has also been a rise of hate crime in Britain.

In these circumstances, it is not acceptable that the UK government and the EU should continue to negotiate over the rights of EU27 citizens in the UK and Britons in the EU.

We ask you to join us and add your voices again to the many voices calling for immediate, comprehensive and unilateral guarantees.

The UK government has the power to act unilaterally, as does the EU.

They must do without further delay to avoid an exodus of EU citizens from the UK and the mental anguish of milions of people whose only "crime" was to settle in another EU member state.

With best regards


Founder, and CEO, New Europeans


* Names have been changed to protect the individuals' identities.



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