Theresa May's rejection of points-based immigration 'beneficial' for pubs

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

'Reliant on overseas workers': Kate Nicholls
'Reliant on overseas workers': Kate Nicholls

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Theresa May’s decision to rule out a points-based immigration system should be welcomed by pubs, according to Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls.

The system was favoured by the official Brexit campaign, but the Prime Minister last week indicated it would not be used in the UK, while promising finding a more effective way to control immigration.

The ALMR has stressed the importance of migrant workers to the hospitality sector, estimating that two thirds of our workforce come from abroad.

Beneficial move

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The move away from a points-based system could be beneficial for licensed hospitality businesses as such a system tends to focus on a high skills, high wage agenda, that is not necessarily beneficial for the UK economy and unhelpful for pubs and bars.

“The Government needs to be aware that the licensed hospitality sector is a substantial employer in the UK, generating 1 in 8 of all new jobs over the past two years.”

May rejected a points-based system because she said it does not give the Government enough say over who comes into the country.

And Nicholls urged Government to be wary of the knock-on effects any immigration policies may have on pubs and bars.

Huge contribution

“Almost two thirds of our workforce comes from abroad and businesses need to be able to employ these workers who make a huge contribution to the country’s economy,” she continued.

The ALMR estimates that non-UK employees in the hospitality and tourism sector has risen by 59% in pubs and 18% in restaurants in the past five years, while the tourism sector is expected to need to recruit 1.3 million people before 2024.

“So we are, as a sector, reliant on our migrant workforce. This is something that the Government needs to consider as it looks to set any future policy on immigration,” Nicholls added. 

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