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Minister to tell Welsh firms Brexit deal is close

Brandon Lewis will speak to Welsh businesses later Credit: PA, David Mirzoeff

Welsh businesses will be told today that a Brexit deal is 'in touching distance' that will give certainty to EU migrants that they employ.

Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis will speak to CBI Wales at a dinner in Cardiff this evening.

He's expected to tell them that their views will be taken into account in any deal reached with the EU.

It's thought that the UK Government and EU negotiators have reached broad agreement on the future rights of EU citizens already living here and UK citizens living abroad.

But talks have foundered after a failure to agree on the future of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In his speech, Brandon Lewis is expected to acknowledge the contribution to the economy made by 79,000 EU citizens in Wales and will tell business leaders that securing their rights is 'our top priority.'

We want to build an immigration system where we have control of our borders and which delivers for our industries and our economy.

It is vital that we work with businesses under the shared ambition of securing the best possible outcome for Welsh businesses, industry and communities.

– Brandon Lewis, Immigration minister

The minister will also announce that a scheme to allow councils to share responsibility for unaccompanied refugee children is to be extended to Welsh councils.

The UK Government is introducing legislation that will allow local authorities here to take part in the National Transfer Scheme.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns welcomed the move.

I want to be sure that all unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Wales can secure the best possible care. Welsh local authorities have a long history of collaboration and I am glad that they are prepared to work together to support each other in this vitally important area.

– Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales