Leading trade body UKHospitality has branded the Government’s proposed new immigration system as “disastrous" for the sector.
Under post-Brexit immigration plans unveiled by the Government, it wants to introduce a points-based system based on specific skills, qualifications, salaries, English speaking ability and professions. The move will mean low-skilled workers will not be granted visas after UK-EU free movement ends on 31st December 2020 in what the Government says is a bid to “move away from relying on cheap labour from Europe”.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls comments: “Ruling out a temporary, low-skilled route for migration in just 10 months’ time will be disastrous for the hospitality sector and the British people. Business must be given time to adapt.
“These proposals will cut off future growth and expansion and deter investment in Britain’s high streets. It will lead to reduced levels of service for customers and business closures. Hospitality is already facing an acute labour shortage, despite investing significantly in skills, training and increasing apprenticeships for the domestic workforce. We are facing record low levels of unemployment, a dip in young people entering the labour market and have the highest vacancy levels of any sector.”
Kate says the announcement fails to recognise that hospitality is at the heart of every community in the UK, adding: “Damaging the hospitality sector will have a knock-on effect for schoolchildren and the elderly who rely on the sector for their meals. The Government says it is making allowances for staff in the NHS, but it has totally ignored the catering companies who supply the meals to patients and staff.
“We understand the Government’s desire to deliver on the referendum result and its aim of moving to a skills-based immigration system. We fully support the ambition to upskill the domestic population and provide opportunities for people in every part of the UK. These proposals fail to deliver on the Government’s own objective of providing an immigration system which works for the UK’s economy and its people.”