U.K. to Hire 1,000 New Border Staff to Prepare for Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. plans to hire 1,000 new customs and immigration staff to ensure the security of the country’s border after Brexit.

The workers will be funded from an additional 395 million pounds ($560 million) pledged to the Home Office, Philip Rutnam, the top civil servant at the department, told lawmakers on Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday. They’re supplementary to 300 new workers recruited in the fiscal year that’s about to end, he said.

“We are launching a national advertising campaign for another thousand Border Force staff in order to improve the quality of our border and prepare specifically for Brexit,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the same panel. “They will be placed across the country. We need to make sure that every area is made secure.”

The Home Office has had to reverse plans to trim the U.K. Border Force following the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Brexit has imposed a huge strain on the department, which in addition to controlling the borders, is devising programs to register EU nationals living in Britain and grant them permanent residency. Rudd said she expects the new recruits to meet the force’s needs.

“We think it is going to be enough, we’ve done careful analysis of it, but if we need more, we will make that decision as we go forward,” Rudd said.

The Home Office later clarified that some of the new 1,000 workers will replace departing staff, and some will be additional headcount. The department couldn’t provide a breakdown of the split.

While the extra funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year is still being allocated, about 150 million pounds will be spent on strengthening the border, according to Rutnam. Another 170 million pounds will be spent on development and “early delivery of the settled status scheme” for EU residents, which the Home Office expects to be operational on a “voluntary” basis by the year-end, he said.

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