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MP Meg Hillier: 'We don't know' Brexit's implications for EU citizens in Hackney

PUBLISHED: 12:44 24 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:44 24 June 2016

Meg Hillier, representative for Hackney South and Shoreditch, during a photocall for Labour MP's at The House of Commons, Westminster.

Meg Hillier, representative for Hackney South and Shoreditch, during a photocall for Labour MP's at The House of Commons, Westminster.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

MP Meg Hillier is "devastated" that Britain has voted to leave the EU, and is trying to find out what the shock result will mean for EU citizens living in Hackney.

People who are married to British citizens, those children who are British citizens, and single people with EU passports have already been in touch with the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch to voice their concerns about whether they will have the right to remain in the UK.

The historic results this morning saw Britain voting to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48pc, although voters in Hackney voted overwhelmingly to remain with 78 per cent wanting to stay.

Ms Hillier said: “The answer is we don’t know.

“There is no automatic right for you to be in the UK with a European passport, and one of the reasons for leaving was to increase border controls and stop people coming in.

“There was no plan from the Leave campaign with details of what would happen in those circumstances.”

She continued: “We don’t know if in future it will mirror the visa regimes for the rest of the world, but people living here already want to know very much what they need to do to carry on living with their families and whether they can continue working.”

Ms Hillier criticised the “xenophobic undertone” of the decision to leave the EU.

She said: “The suggestion is they don’t want to welcome people who aren’t British into the UK.

“I worry for Hackney generally as an international community which is made up from people all over the world.

“A lot of people are concerned about how they are perceived. That this is a sign they are not accepted.”

Ms Hillier is regularly lobbied by Tech City firms about the difficultly of employing workers with specialist skills - which she predicts will become more difficult.

She said: “They rely on people with skills from a wider area, they have problems recruiting of course in time they won’t even have access to the European market.

“Of course we want to train our school children but it will be a while until those teenagers are in a position to take on those specialist technical roles.

“The whole immigration issue will require a lot of thought and change and will create a lot of anxiety for people in the short and medium term.”

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