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Hospitality group says 'catastrophic' plan to end free movement will cost jobs

Hospitality industry group calls on UK Government to change proposed migration policy following Brexit
07/09/2017

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) have labelled as "catastrophic" plans by the Government to end the freedom of movement of people immediately after Brexit.


The representative body has issued an urgent response to the proposal, which was leaked this week, saying skilled migrants were needed to support the hospitality industry. Under the Government's proposal, low-skilled EU migrants would be offered two-year work permits, while high-skilled workers would receive three to five-year visas.


Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: "If these proposals are implemented it could be catastrophic for the UK hospitality industry and for those who enjoy the hospitality it brings – whether it be in restaurants, theatres, hotels, bars and tourist attractions.


"The Government needs to be urgently reminded that so-called unskilled workers in hospitality - the ambassadors for our country - are necessary. It is not just the bankers and the lawyers that are needed to fill the employment gaps. Our research from KPMG shows that at least 60,000 new EU service workers are needed per year just to fill the vacancies in hospitality. The research showed that 75 per cent of waiters, 25 per cent of chefs and 37 per cent of housekeepers are EU nationals. And in London and the south-east, especially, some businesses rely totally on EU service workers. The UK has near full employment so where are the recruits going to come from for the UK’s fourth largest industry that employs over 4.5 million people nationwide?"


The BHA has submitted a 10-year plan aimed at encouraging more UK people to consider a career in hospitality in a bid to tackle the staffing issue.


Ibrahim added: "The idea that so-called ‘unskilled workers’ would be able to stay for up to two years, whereas others can stay longer, is deliberately discriminatory and with other restrictions will add unnecessary red tape. We understand the need and the wish to reduce immigration but we need to tread carefully and be aware of the unintended consequences. Some businesses will fail, taking UK jobs with them."


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