A coalition of health and social care organisations has called on the government to immediately guarantee the right to remain for EEA nationals working in the sector.
The Cavendish Coalition issued its call after the government this week triggered Article 50 to leave the EU.
EEA residents account for up to 20% of staff in some health and social care organisations.
The coalition said the UK would be unable to meet workforce requirements through domestic recruitment or training activity and using non-EEA staff as an alternative was unworkable due to complex immigration procedures.
The group’s letter to the government said any ‘cut-off’ date for continued residency should be left as late as possible with significant advance notice given when it will be set.
“Efforts to increase domestic workforce supply are vitally important and the Cavendish Coalition is committed to increasing local opportunities for UK citizens to train and work in the health and social care sectors,” the letter states.
“Increasing domestic supply will, however, take time. Both during the negotiating period and in the years after the UK leaves the EU, providing high quality and sustainable health and social care services will depend on workers from within and outside the EEA.