Labour hopes it will negotiate workers rights for UK citizens in the EU by offering all EU nationals the right to stay in the UK after Brexit.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the party’s general election manifesto, titled Time For Real Change, on Thursday.
Labour has pledged to give EU workers, many of whom work in the UK hospitality industry, the right to stay in the UK.
And it hopes that by making that guarantee it will be able to convince the EU to offer the same deal to UK citizens living in the bloc – many of whom work in the UK’s outbound travel and tourism industry.
Labour says it will hold a second referendum on EU membership if it wins the December 12 election, with voters to choose between remaining in the EU or a “credible” Brexit option, which it has pledged to negotiate within six months of getting into power.
The Conservative government has set up a settlement scheme for EU nationals, which it claims is working well – but critics say that about one million have not signed up with concerns that the process has been made too difficult and they could face deportation.
Labour’s manifesto says: “Labour believes that citizens’ rights should never have been used as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations, and recognises the huge anxiety this has caused for the three million EU nationals living in the UK and the 1.2 million UK nationals who have made their home elsewhere in the EU.
“We will end the uncertainty created by the EU Settlement Scheme by granting EU nationals the automatic right to continue living and working in the UK. This new declaratory system will allow EU nationals the chance to register for proof of status if they wish, but will mean they no longer have to apply to continue living and working in this country.
“This will help ensure reciprocal treatment for UK citizens living in the EU.”
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