BHA calls for post-Brexit visas for EU hospitality staff

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

BHA calls for post-Brexit visas for EU hospitality staff

Related tags Immigration

Hospitality trade bodies have welcomed the government’s decision to launch its first major report in to the impact of EU immigration on the UK.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the regional distribution of EU migration, which sectors are most reliant on it, and the importance of seasonal and temporary workers.

The report is due to be completed by September 2018, seven months before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019 when the government will introduce a new immigration system.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has welcomed the study, but critics have questioned why it has been commissioned over a year since the EU referendum.

The Confederation of British Industry said employers "urgently" needed answers on the future of their European staff.

Visa plan

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) estimates that over 700,000 EU migrants work in the UK hospitality and tourism industry.

In March, a KPMG study warned​ that the sector would need to recruit an additional 60,000 workers a year in addition to the 200,000 staff required to replace churn and boost growth if EU migration was restricted.

The BHA is calling on the MAC to advise the government to introduce new visas for hospitality and tourism workers from the EU to prevent the sector facing a recruitment crisis.

“Britain needs services workers as well as scientists and engineers and we look forward to having a serious dialogue with the Home Secretary as we get into the detail of a new immigration law,” said Ibrahim.

“We are determined to rely less on EU service workers over the coming years, [but] it will take time.

“Our industry recognises that immigration policy needs to change however at a time when unemployment is at its lowest since 1975 we will still need access to the European workforce.”

Ibrahim Dogus, chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, added that EU migration was vital to the sector’s survival.

“With a third of takeaway restaurants experiencing skills shortages, particularly for chefs, and more than a third saying Brexit will make it more difficult to recruit staff, it's vital that the immigration system enables the sector to access the skills it needs from inside and outside the EU,” said Dogus.

“We are also calling for a review of the occupational shortage list to enable takeaways, particularly curry and kebab houses, to access skilled chefs from outside the EU.”

Related topics Fine Dining Casual Dining

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