EU nationals working in the NHS and other industries or for themselves have not been guaranteed the right to remain in the UK.
For those of you who don’t have time to listen to the podcast, here is a rough idea of what I said about the central question:
I think Brexit is very dangerous because it feeds xenophobia. The government needs to measure, statistically, the income generated by migrants, specifically those from the EU, working in the NHS to understand the true value of their contribution. We need to reframe the debate. All the statistics I could find concentrate on how much EU nationals cost the NHS and if any of this money is recouped.
In making the case for freedom of movement, data urgently needs to be collected about how much money is generated for the NHS and the British economy by EU nationals. The fact that the government is importing GPs from Europe and beyond suggests that EU nationals are voting with their feet and leaving the UK. The governments needs to acknowledge this, apologise and take steps to prevent an even greater exodus of highly trained NHS staff that the government will then need to replace.
A lot of the debate about Brexit has focused on economic arguments. While these are important we saw last winter that the NHS is already stretched to breaking point in the winter and hardly coping. Clearly if 25,000 EU staff leave, the crisis will become acute and it will take time for new staff to be recruited. It is these arguments that people need to hear: that their access to hospital care and GPs may be limited which could be life-threatening. This is the reality that frontline NHS staff battle every day, staff shortages and increasing demand on services.
You can also read my blog about a gathering of EU nationals #onedaywithoutus here describing both their contribution and pain since the EU referendum. It explains in their own words, how EU nationals feel about Brexit and its impact. It is in the February archive of this blog.
The full drive time programme is available as a podcast here.