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Chancellor calls for EU nationals to be allowed to work in UK during post-Brexit transition period

Philip Hammond

The UK chancellor has said he wants there to be a transition period following Brexit, during which time European Union nationals would be allowed to enter and work in the UK if they register with the authorities first.

Philip Hammond added that Britain would leave the customs union and the single market on 29th March 2019 – two years after Article 50 was triggered – but that the Cabinet largely agreed to establishing a transitional agreement to avoid a “cliff edge” for businesses.

If this goes ahead, the move would most likely be welcomed by members of the UK technology industry, a sector which has largely criticised the country’s departure from the EU due to its significant reliance on talent from the continent. Many tech entrepreneurs in the UK have also cited the ability to passport their businesses across the EU as a reason to stay in the Union.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today Programme, Hammond said: “I hope we will be able to agree a transition which means goods will be able to flow across the border between the UK and the EU in much the way they do now.”

Additionally, he went on to note that it would be some time before the government was able to introduce full migration controls between the UK and the EU.

“We have to put in place new infrastructure, new IT systems, new people. The home Secretary and the Prime Minister have been clear this will take a while to put in place,” the chancellor added.

Hammond did not confirm or deny reports that he had told business leaders that the UK would look to secure a three year transitional deal – described as an “off-the-shelf” agreement similar to the European Economic Area (EEA) agreements in place between the EU and Norway.