EXCL Top mandarin Jeremy Heywood tells EU citizens their civil service jobs are safe after Brexit
Britain's top mandarin has moved to reassure EU citizens working in the civil service that their jobs are not at risk as a result of Brexit.
Jeremy Heywood wrote to them shortly before Christmas to say that the deal Theresa May struck with the other EU leaders clearing the way for phase two of the Brexit negotiations had protected their employment status.
Under the terms of the deal, the Prime Minister agreed that the rights currently enjoyed by EU citizens living in the UK will be protected in full.
It is understood that Mr Heywood, who is Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, wanted to allay any concerns that EU-born public sector staff may have had about their own prospects once Britain quits the bloc in March, 2019.
In his email, he said "many colleagues have been concerned about the status of European Union citizens working in the civil service after the UK leaves the EU".
He added: "Let me make clear – the Government’s policy intention is that post-Brexit the civil service nationality rules should continue to enable EU citizens to be employed in the civil service. EU citizens who have chosen to make their lives in this country can play a full role in society and in the work of the civil service.”
But one EU citizen who is employed by the civil service told PoliticsHome he had been shocked to receive the letter.
"Until I read the email, I never even thought about the possibility that my job could be at risk because of Brexit. If anything, this has made me more worried," the employee said.
"I don't understand why they couldn't have told us after the referendum - why wait 18 months to do it? Have our jobs been at risk all that time?"
It is thought that around 3,000 EU nationals are employed in the UK civil service.
An insider at the PCS civil servants' union said: "We have been raising the issue ever since the referendum without any success until the email from Jeremy Heywood came out."
A Cabinet Office source confirmed Mr Heywood's email was sent to more than 400,000 civil servants.
"This statement was regarding additional rules that apply to the civil service above and beyond UK immigration rules," the source said.