Government restrictions on EU migration would ‘devastate’ UK hospitality industry

The government’s plans to place a minimum salary requirement on EU citizens living and working in the UK would be ‘devastating’ for the hospitality industry, according to industry leaders.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid wants to slash migration levels by 80%. (Photo: Chatham House/Flickr)

The reaction comes after a report in the Sunday Times revealed Home Secretary Sajid Javid will outline plans to slash immigration into the UK by 80% — just 10,000 per year — once freedom of movement ends.

Javid is setting out a plan to end freedom of movement for EU citizens from December 2020, with a view to cutting the rate of long-term migrants entering the UK down to between 10,000 and 25,000 per year by 2025.

Under new guidelines, future EU migrants could be required to earn £30,000 in order to be able to live and work in the UK.

It means that a large proportion of hospitality workers from the EU would be unable to come to the UK. The average salary advertised in the hospitality sector for 2018 was £28,6000, a spokesperson from job site CV Library told the drinks business.

The average salary for a bar manager in the UK is just under £20,000, according to research site Payscale. The average salary for a general manager in the hospitality sector is just over £28,000.

“Since the publication of the MAC report, we have, along with others, repeatedly made the case for a future immigration system that supports hospitality,” UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said.

“If the rumours are to be believed, then the Government is just not listening to the needs of business. This is an ideologically-driven decision that is not going to benefit UK businesses, it will only do harm to the UK’s economy.

“If hospitality employers do not have access to EU workers, and under the proposed terms they will not, then we will only see more venue closures. These proposals are going to significantly shrink the talent pool for hospitality and businesses are going to be devastated.”

There have already been warning cries from hospitality bosses over a potential staff shortage post-Brexit. A YouGov survey published in June found that around 330,000 staff currently working in bars, restaurants and hotels are considering leaving the UK due to Brexit.

Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of hospitality managers reported that recruitment had been harder now than in April 2017, with 16% believing they will not be able to fulfil their staffing requirements over the next five years with domestic workers.

Overall, 53% of workers think that Brexit has made the UK “a less welcoming place to live and work”.

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