The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have written to the Prime Minister to complain about ‘anti-foreigner’ rhetoric which they claim is putting vets off coming to work in the UK.
The organisations claim the language around Brexit could seriously affect the profession’s ability to fill essential roles, particularly in areas such as meat hygiene, where around 95 per cent of vets are from abroad.
The letter, signed by Gudrun Ravetz, president of the BVA, and Chris Tufnell, president of the RCVS, said: “We have received reports that the increasing focus on foreign workers is causing personal distress to individual members of the veterinary profession.
“There are also reports of a negative impact on recruitment and retention: those involved in public health critical roles are having increasing difficulty recruiting much needed EU veterinary surgeons to work in the UK; leading experts from overseas are turning down employment offers from top UK universities and many others are considering leaving the UK due to a feeling it is no longer welcoming to foreigners.”
Half the veterinary workforce in the UK is currently made up of immigrants, with the ‘vast majority’ coming from the EU.
The RCVS has now begun the process of commissioning research into the impact of Brexit upon the profession.