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Foreign staff 'likely to be allowed to stay in UK'

Our new life outside Europe... your guide to how things are likely to change

By John Mulgrew

Published 25/06/2016

EU nationals living and working in Northern Ireland are unlikely to be removed from their posts now that the UK has voted to leave, according to recruitment firm boss Tina McKenzie. Image posed by model
EU nationals living and working in Northern Ireland are unlikely to be removed from their posts now that the UK has voted to leave, according to recruitment firm boss Tina McKenzie. Image posed by model

EU nationals living and working in Northern Ireland are unlikely to be removed from their posts now that the UK has voted to leave, according to recruitment firm boss Tina McKenzie.

However, for Louise McAloon, a partner at Worthington Solicitors, the situation for migrant workers will "all depend on whether the UK Government decides to negotiate for free movement or if they impose a visa system."

"It is likely that EU migrants would no longer have an automatic right to come to the UK to live and work," she added.

"(There could be) reciprocal restrictions quite possibly imposed on Britons heading abroad."

But Tina McKenzie, managing director of Diamond Recruitment Group, said: "As far as we are aware, they all legally can stay, and I don't think that there would be a rule to say they have to leave.

"Our infrastructure would fall without the workers... there would be renegotiation to keep it the same.

"We will likely still enjoy the freedom of workers moving about and coming to work (in the UK).

"I could never see any government ever saying to those people that they have to go. No one would support that."

Another recruitment expert claimed that Brexit would have an "extremely serious" impact on the finance, IT and engineering talent pool here.

"International companies have been attracted to Northern Ireland because they see it as being a location which has access to talent across the EU, and without that, they genuinely would struggle to build out their operations here and so will opt for a different EU location," the expert explained.

They also claimed that it was still unclear what would happen to those EU nationals currently living and working in Northern Ireland.

"I am sure this is creating a nervousness with employers, particularly employers who rely on EU native speakers as core to their business," they said.

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