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Theresa May’s EU citizen offer ‘falls short’
Published:  26 June, 2017

EU veterinarians and veterinarian nurses living in the UK deserve better than the Prime Minister’s proposals for ‘UK settled status’, according to the British Veterinary Association (BVA). 

One year on from the results of the EU referendum, Theresa May announced that EU citizens who have lived in Britain for five years have permission to stay for life, while others are able to stay until they reach the five-year mark to earn settled status.

However, the BVA said the proposals fall short of providing clarity that veterinarians and nurses working in the UK deserve.

“Our EU colleagues play a crucial role in helping the UK maintain animal health, animal welfare, and public health for the rest of society,” said BVA president Gudrun Ravetz.

“Last week, the Defra Secretary of State rightly acknowledged the importance of EU vets to the UK economy, from food and hygiene and safety to monitoring disease outbreaks and facilitating trade. The veterinary profession is relatively small, so the loss of even a small percentage of the workforce would have a significant impact. The time has come for the Government to provide clear guarantees and stop using people as bargaining chips.”

The BVA has now called for all EU veterinarians and nurses working in the UK to be guaranteed living and working rights. Ravetz said the Prime Minister’s outlined proposals left too many unanswered questions, with the hopes that more details will offer “something more concrete”.

“The EU referendum has already had a serious effect on EU colleagues, who have been teetering on a knife-edge for 12 months now,” she added.  

The proposals have also been condemned by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, who brandished them as “below our expectations”.

“Citizens rights are the number one priority for the EU27, and to have made our position clear, we want to ensure the full rights for EU and UK citizens after Brexit” he said. “My first impression is that the UK’s offer is below our expectations and it risks worsening the situation of citizens, but it will be for our negotiating team to analyse the offer line by line once we receive it on paper.” One year on from the results of the EU referendum, Theresa May announced that EU citizens who have lived in Britain for five years have permission to stay for life, while others are able to stay until they reach the five-year mark to earn settled status.

However, the BVA said the proposals fall short of providing clarity that veterinarians and nurses working in the UK deserve.

“Our EU colleagues play a crucial role in helping the UK maintain animal health, animal welfare, and public health for the rest of society,” said BVA president Gudrun Ravetz.

“Last week, the Defra Secretary of State rightly acknowledged the importance of EU vets to the UK economy, from food and hygiene and safety to monitoring disease outbreaks and facilitating trade. The veterinary profession is relatively small, so the loss of even a small percentage of the workforce would have a significant impact. The time has come for the Government to provide clear guarantees and stop using people as bargaining chips.”

The BVA has now called for all EU veterinarians and nurses working in the UK to be guaranteed living and working rights. Ravetz said the Prime Minister’s outlined proposals left too many unanswered questions, with the hopes that more details will offer “something more concrete”.

“The EU referendum has already had a serious effect on EU colleagues, who have been teetering on a knife-edge for 12 months now,” she added.  

The proposals have also been condemned by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, who brandished them as “below our expectations”.

“Citizens rights are the number one priority for the EU27, and to have made our position clear, we want to ensure the full rights for EU and UK citizens after Brexit” he said. “My first impression is that the UK’s offer is below our expectations and it risks worsening the situation of citizens, but it will be for our negotiating team to analyse the offer line by line once we receive it on paper.”

EU vets in the UK

  • According to the BVA, around 50% of vets registering to practise in the UK come from overseas, mostly from the EU
  • Figures from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons show that 44% of EU vets living in the UK are concerned about their future here
  • Two in five are now more likely to say that they will leave
  • 18% are actively looking for work outside the UK