LONDON — The leaders of Oxford University — one of the world’s most prestigious institutions and Britain’s oldest university — are asking politicians to make sure that citizens of the European Union can stay in Britain post-Brexit.
In a letter to The Times newspaper, the heads of 35 Oxford colleges are begging MPs to allow workers from EU already in Britain to be given concrete rights to stay in Britain. The college chiefs claim that an academics exodus has already begun and say that guaranteeing rights will help to stem the flow.
Here are the highlights from the letter:
“Our EU colleagues are not reassured by a government which tells them that deportation is not going to happen but declines to convert that assurance into law; some are worried, some are desperate, some are already making plans to leave.
“Many of our staff do not know whether absences abroad on research contracts will count against them. Others do not know, however longstanding their work and residence, whether their children will be able to remain in the UK.”
Britain is poised to begin its departure from the European Union as early as Tuesday after both Houses of Parliament look set to pass the Brexit bill.
Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to be given the power to trigger Article 50 — the two year process by which the UK will leave the EU — on Monday evening when MPs vote on whether to pass the European Union (notification of withdrawal) bill.
MPs will vote today on a House of Lords amendment of the Brexit bill, which would guarantee the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK after Brexit.
On Saturday, David Davis — secretary of state for exiting the European Union — instructed Conservative MPs to remove the House of Lords amendments from the Article 50 bill, which would also give the government a meaningful vote on whether to accept the government’s final Brexit deal.
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