Night czar: overseas salary plans ‘risk huge damage to sector’

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Concerns voiced: Amy Lamé says hospitality is already struggling to fill vacancies as it is (credit: Getty/Marco_Piunti)
Concerns voiced: Amy Lamé says hospitality is already struggling to fill vacancies as it is (credit: Getty/Marco_Piunti)

Related tags Finance Amy Lame Government

London night czar Amy Lamé fears plans to raise the minimum salary required for skilled overseas workers will hit the hospitality sector hard.

Lamé has warned the Home Secretary’s plans to raise the minimum salary needed for skilled overseas workers from £26,200 to £38,700, which The Morning Advertiser​ reported on yesterday (5 December)​, will cause significant long-term damage to a hospitality industry already struggling to fill vacancies.

Some 8,500 hospitality visas were issued last year in the UK and the majority of these are likely to have been based in the capital but analysis from UKHospitality has shown about 95% of those would no longer be eligible under these plans, despite being offered “competitive salaries”.

Best in the world

Lamé said: “Our capital’s life at night is the best in the world but our hospitality industry has been facing significant pressure following the impact of the pandemic and ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“Businesses are already experiencing staff shortages and challenges to fill vacancies since our departure from the EU and these plans from Government will only make this worse and risk hugely damaging this vital industry.

“It will almost certainly lead to more businesses closing their doors for good.

“There is no doubt more has to be done to provide British workers with the right skills but we simply cannot close this industry off from the rest of the world.”

More skilled workers needed

Lamé continued: “Our hospitality businesses need more skilled workers right now. I urge ministers to urgently reconsider their plans and recognise the value and importance of our hospitality industry to help drive our economic recovery.”

At the time of the new increased salary demand, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government seem to be running out of answers to fix the UK’s long-running labour market shortages.

“These changes will further shrink the talent pool the entire economy will be recruiting from and only worsen the shortages hospitality businesses are facing.

“About three quarters of hospitality’s workforce is filled from within the UK but international talent has always been attracted to work in the UK due to our pedigree for hospitality and developing careers.”

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