Sector bodies outline immigration priorities in letter to Home Secretary

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Letter plea: pub sector organisations call for a new immigration policy to help plug labour gaps
Letter plea: pub sector organisations call for a new immigration policy to help plug labour gaps

Related tags: Immigration

Pub trade bodies have signed a letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel outlining businesses’ priorities for a new immigration system.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and UKHospitality (UKH) signed the letter that recommended four policy aspects moving forward after Brexit, alongside organisations representing other industries. 

The BBPA’s members employ 17% of their workforce from overseas, with this number rising to 40% in metropolitan areas.

It said a minimum salary threshold “can provide confidence that migrants are not accepting wages lower than those of UK workers” and protect sectors prone to job shortages.

The letter highlighted a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee to lower the skill level requirements to A-level or equivalent to secure a work visa post-Brexit. 

It said: “Following this tried-and-tested formula would mean that a worker from overseas would have to earn both more than £20,100 and more than 25% of people doing the same job.”

The letter also recommended flexibility for skilled workers with a points-based system that allows people with lower salaries to work in the UK, based on other attributes including work experience. 

More stability 

Signatories agreed lowering the salary threshold for occupations facing shortages – such as the hospitality industry – was ideal.

The third priority it urged for Patel was a temporary visa route, which would be extended from one to two years to give businesses more stability and reduce staff turnover. 

Trade organisations said this route should be available to all sectors to help plug skills and labour gaps, with a cooling-off period reduced to six months.

Finally, the letter urged for a radical reform of the sponsorship process – where an employer offers an individual a job offer before they can apply for a work visa – from the offset of a new system.

Skills needed

It said: “Completing and testing these reforms before switching to the new system will help smaller companies avoid expensive legal advice. 

“Minor adjustments to the existing non-EU visa route would be insufficient and act as a major barrier to accessing the skills needed to grow the economy.”

The letter concludes: “The economy needs a simple, streamlined and affordable system that meets business’s needs of all sizes, sectors and across all UK regions and nations.

“We look forward to working with the new Government to inform the detailed design of a new immigration system in a way that commands public confidence and supports the UK’s global ambitions.”

Related topics: Legislation

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