Move to axe EU migrant salary threshold welcomed

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Change of approach: the Government is considering moving away from a salary threshold for EU workers moving to the UK
Change of approach: the Government is considering moving away from a salary threshold for EU workers moving to the UK

Related tags: Eu, Migrant worker

Reports that the Government will look to move away from a £30,000 salary threshold for EU workers moving to the UK in future policy have been welcomed by hospitality trade bodies.

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid wrote to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to ask if it would drop the threshold, according to a report in The Sun​ newspaper.

Previously a skills-based policy had been proposed with Prime Minister Theresa May declaring that low-skilled migration would decrease when free movement was ushered out by Brexit. May said ‘high-skilled’ international workers would be prioritised regardless of whether their country was in the EU.

This was criticised by pub industry chiefs ​when it was published in the committee’s migration policy proposals last year and included in the Government’s Immigration White Paper.

Javid has now asked the committee to allow businesses to pay the ‘going rate’ for EU employees and take into account regional salary levels.

He instructed MAC to look at introducing exemptions for some sectors and whether inexperienced employees could be paid less.

MAC is set to report back on these factors at the end of the year, before the Government confirms the level of a minimum salary threshold, according to the leaked document.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls welcomed the sentiment in Javid’s letter.

Positive and pragmatic

She said: “Such a recommendation would be positive and pragmatic, while demonstrating that the Home Secretary has been listening to our concerns about the £30,000 minimum salary threshold.

“Such a threshold would make many crucial, hard-to-fill roles in hospitality unavailable to EU workers.”

Three million people are currently employed in the sector, but UKH has estimated that 90% of these roles could not be filled under May's proposed system.

Nicholls added: “Any future migration policy must focus on the needs and fortunes of the wider economy, rather than focusing on individuals.

“Hospitality is a key economic driver but to keep growing it will need to employ non-British workers in many different roles. It is vital that we also have a separate route for semi-skilled workers.”

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds tweeted that she would also welcome the news.

She said: “Any recommendation by Sajid Javid to scrap £30,000 minimum salary cap for Tier 2 migration (semi skilled), would be widely welcomed by pubs. On average, pub chefs earn £25k and we cannot recruit enough from the UK.”

Related topics: Legislation

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