We, the undersigned, call on the Home Office to reverse the decision to introduce ever-more onerous requirements for Turkish citizens applying for permanent residency under the European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA).

The ECAA, commonly known as the Ankara Agreement, had previously permitted Turkish citizens to apply for permanent residency in the UK if they set up their own business. In doing so, it provided the basis for a flourishing and dynamic community that continues to make an outstanding contribution in all areas of British life.

By closing the permanent residency route within the Ankara Agreement scheme overnight and then introducing stricter requirements, including a prohibitive application fee, the Home Office risks damaging the UK's reputation as a fair and stable business environment.

Worse, by imposing these changes retroactively, the Home Office has undermined a key principle of our justice system. Thousands of current applicants had been given clear and unequivocal representation of their right to apply for permanent residency under the previous terms. They now face punitive and unanticipated obstacles, with potentially life-changing consequences.

Going forward, the government should uphold its commitments under the Ankara Agreement and refrain from introducing any further restrictions on Turkish citizens seeking to do business in the UK. At the very least, existing applicants must be exempted from the new requirements.

If the UK is to remain open to the world, we must continue to be a country where those who embody the values of entrepreneurship can succeed, not one that arbitrarily shifts the goalposts.

Afzal Khan MP
Alex Sobel MP
Alison Thewliss MP
Bambos Charalambous MP
Baroness Harris of Richmond
Baroness Smith of Newnham
Caroline Lucas MP
Catherine West MP
Joan Ryan MP
Kate Green MP
Kate Osamor MP
Layla Moran MP
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
Rachael Maskell MP
Sandy Martin MP
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Sir David Amess MP
Sir Vince Cable MP
Siobhain McDonagh MP
Stuart McDonald MP
Tom Brake MP
Tulip Siddiq MP
Virendra Sharma MP


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