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New immigration laws will be ‘disastrous’ for hospitality, says UKH

Kate Nicholls, the CEO of hospitality trade body UK hospitality, has said the government’s proposed pos-brexit immigration laws will be “disastrous” for the sector.

The new proposals unveiled by the government today (19 February) are aimed to “urge” employers from moving away from “cheap labour” in favour of investing in new technology and retaining existing staff.

The government’s new system reflects the “points-based” immigration system that was first promised in the Conservative election manifesto last year. In order to qualify overseas citizens looking to move to the UK would be required to reach a total of 70 points.

Under this, overseas citizens would have to reach 70 points to be able to work in the UK. Some 50 points will be awarded for speaking fluent english and have an offer for a skilled job. The final requisite points would be awarded for having desirable qualifications and a salary over £25,600.

The government added the threshold would be as low as £20,480 for people in “specific shortage occupations”.

However, the boss of the UK’s largest hospitality trade body has said the proposals will “cut off future growth and expansion” and “deter” investment in Britain’s high streets.

In a statement she said: “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.”

She continued: “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.

“This announcement fails to recognise that hospitality is at the heart of every community in the UK. 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.”

She also added that the proposals “fail to deliver” on the government’s own objectives of “providing an immigration system which works for the UK’s economy and its people.”

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