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Therese Raphael

Wake Up, U.K.! You’ll Need Those EU Workers After Brexit.

More than 3.5 million Europeans enrich British life. Where’s the plan to keep them?

Be careful, Prime Minister.

Be careful, Prime Minister.

Photographer: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

It’s been an unsettling couple of years for an estimated over 3.5 million European Union nationals who live and work in the U.K. They’ve been victims of attacks, pawns in the Brexit negotiations and, more recently, an afterthought as an army of civil servants and consultants map out contingency plans for various Brexit scenarios.

None of that augurs well for the U.K.’s aspiration to remain an open, global trading power. A country that won’t welcome the citizens of its closest friends, allies and trading partners will make other countries wary. Whether or not the EU and U.K. conclude the terms of Britain’s exit in the coming weeks, more needs to be done to ensure that residency issues don’t undermine U.K.-European relations.