Dismore: ‘Barnet and Camden’s 60,000 EU citizens are Londoners – and vital to our economy’
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Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore has urged the Government to protect the rights of EU migrants living in the area or risk doing “untold damage” to the economy.
Mr Dismore’s statement comes as the Brexit bill reached its final stages in the House of Lords, where an amendment was proposed that would protect the rights of the 60,000 EU citizens living in Barnet and Camden.
But following the Lords vote in favour of the amendment, the Government described the outcome as “disappointing”.
Mr Dismore said: “The 60,000 EU citizens living in Barnet and Camden make a valuable contribution to our community and are vital to our economy. A ‘hard Brexit’ would do untold damage to the prosperity of our city.”
The Labour Assembly Member added: “The Government must consider London’s needs when it decides on new immigration rules after the UK leaves the EU, so London’s economy does not suffer.”
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According to the latest figures released by the London Assembly Economy Committee, more than 500,000 of the five million jobs in London are held by people born in EU countries. They also make up a third of those employed in the technology and hospitality sector.
The former lawyer continued: “A fast-track visa system for highly skilled EU workers is critical and any new system should recognise the need for a transitional period as it is not possible simply to fill the jobs with UK workers in the short term.”
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EU citizens make up 12 per cent of the capital’s population, a percentage significantly higher than any other region in the UK.
Mr Dismore added: “The point needs to be made that EU citizens that live and work in Barnet and Camden and across the capital are Londoners. The diversity of our city is its greatest strength.
“We cannot let it be destroyed by a Government that is putting ideology above what is best for our borough, our city, and our country.”
Article 50 is expected to be triggered on March 15.