Hospitality growth ‘at risk’ without post-Brexit migration system

By Fred A'Court

- Last updated on GMT

Protect growth: ALMR calls for migrant workforce import system post-Brexit
Protect growth: ALMR calls for migrant workforce import system post-Brexit

Related tags: Immigration, European union

The licensed hospitality industry will be jeopardised unless a streamlined and straightforward migration policy is put in place after Brexit, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned.

In a submission to the Government it says that growth in the sector will be threatened if its migrant workforce is not given guarantees and assurances after Britain leaves the European Union. 

Currently, the hospitality sector has some 150,000 migrant workers who are entitled to live in the UK without the need for documentation under the European Economic Area (EEA) residency terms.

The sector, comprising pubs, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and coffee shops, has grown at more than 6% a year since 2010 with restaurants showing a 9.3% annual improvement.

The ALMR says this growth is now under threat.

Calls for bespoke migration system

Writing to the migration advisory committee, it called for the guarantee of a bespoke migration system for non-graduate EU workers acknowledging specific sectors and staff shortages, clarity on any transition period, and assurances that the system will be convenient, transparent and affordable.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said EEA workers have made a huge contribution to the sector, helping businesses grow.

“Our sector has the second highest number of EEA workers and the fifth highest by proportion,” she said.

Growth undermined

Without a streamlined immigration system in place, growth will be severely undermined, she added.

“This does not come at the expense of the domestic workforce. Investment that is boosted by non-UK workers is, in many cases, reinvested in venues in terms of further employment and training for UK workers.”

EEA migration has helped revitalise high streets and drive employment in every region of the UK.

“A clear policy and commitment to these workers needs to be established right away to provide certainty for employers and to secure the long-term stability and viability of the sector,” Nicholls said.

Related topics: Legislation

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