The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has added his voice to calls for the Government to create a new ‘Covid Recovery Visa’ to address the alarming labour shortages affecting a wide range of industries, including hospitality, in the wake of Brexit and the pandemic.
In a speech at Bloomberg’s ‘The Future of Global Financial Centres, Khan layed out how he believes the government should address the issues, by requesting devolved powers to fill vacancies in sectors with serious shortages and suggesting extending the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU nationals.
As London continues to reopen and with jobs returning, the Mayor hopes that many workers from European countries with status under the EU Settlement Scheme will come back to London and he is using London’s Adult Education Budget to provide skills support to industries like hospitality that are experiencing major staffing shortages.
Since restrictions were removed and the economy began to reopen over the summer, hoteliers and restaurants have reported difficulties finding suitably trained candidates for a variety of roles, such as chefs, culinary preparation and managerial staff.
Khan said: “Many sectors that are important to our economic recovery, from hospitality to haulage, construction to culture are now under huge strain due the lack of EU workers and the Government’s immigration rules.
“We know there are countless struggling businesses across London that are working hard to get back on their feet, but are now simply unable to hire the staff they need.”
He added: “Given the urgency and the scale of the challenge, I’m calling on the Government to change its immigration system so that it meets our economic needs and helps our businesses.
“This must include introducing a ‘Covid Recovery Visa’ to help attract international workers into key roles to support our economic recovery.”