BUSINESSES in Oxfordshire have said they will support staff who want to stay in the UK – but raised concerns about attracting and retaining EU nationals in future.

Both Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals Trust – which runs the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals – are offering to cover the £65 fee for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Diamond Light Source research facility at Harwell Campus told the Oxford Mail that it would also cover the fee and support the 16 per cent of its 700 staff who are EU nationals.

But a spokesperson added that some staff had already left and applications to join were already down as a result of Brexit.

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Florence Rossignol, the manager of Alliance Francaise Oxford, which recruits qualified French teachers, said it was now difficult to recruit staff from France and that the fee was an ‘unfriendly’ move.

She said: “It used to be a very attractive place to work, but now EU nationals will think twice about it.”

At a meeting late last year, Linda Bell, CEO of Mirico, told Wantage MP Ed Vaizey: “We have noticed a reduction in interest from EU citizens in the last year or so and our existing employees who are EU citizens have expressed concern about their future status.”