The BVA has responded to the government’s proposals for a post-Brexit immigration system. Under the proposals, unveiled on 2 October 2018 by Home Secretary Sajid Javid in his party conference speech, EU citizens will not necessarily receive preferential treatment over non-EU citizens coming to the UK, and some curbs on lower-skilled migration will be introduced. These changes echo recommendations in the Migration Advisory Committee’s immigration report published in September.
Responding to the plans, Simon Doherty, BVA President, said:
“Careful consideration is needed to prevent these changes from having a disproportionate impact on the veterinary profession, given its high reliance on the EU for workforce supply.
“Nearly half of vets registering to work in the UK every year come from the EU, so it’s all the more important that any changes protect capacity rather than introducing new layers of bureaucracy or restrictions on flexible movement between roles.
“We are also concerned that parts of the sector will be particularly affected if the Immigration Skills Charge is extended to the recruitment of EU workers. This impact would be most keenly felt in the abattoir industry, where 95 percent of Official Veterinarians are from overseas, predominantly the EU.
“BVA is continuing to engage with government ahead of the Immigration Bill launch, to make the case for the veterinary workforce’s capacity needs, as well as the multiple benefits that EU vets and the wider workforce realise across animal health and welfare and public health.”