JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin calls for EU immigration visa to address hospitality staffing shortages

The Staff Canteen

Tim Martin, Founder and Chairman of the Uk's second biggest pub company, JD Wetherspoon, has said that he would favour a two-year immigration visa to help ease the hospitality sector’s staffing shortage.

Speaking at a conference hosted by hospitality news provider Propel this month, Tim said: “The fact is we can have whatever immigration policy we want. I personally would go for two-year immigration visas,” as, he remarked, “there is no easy way out in terms of recruitment.”

Known for his strong views on Britain's exit from the European Union, Tim said that he, like most, was taken off guard by the staffing shortages currently plaguing the hospitality industry.

“It is very confusing because the experts said, like every previous recession, there is going to be high unemployment, and it didn’t happen.”

According to temporary work app, Stint, job vacancies in the hospitality sector could hit a record high of 163,000 in December - a 279% increase on ten years ago, and up to 75,000 more than just two years ago.

Although the number of vacancies has been increasing year-on-year, the pandemic has exacerbated the problem on a new scale. One of the key reasons being staff - specifically waiters, concierges, and bar staff - not returning from furlough.

Currently, statistics show that the number of people in the industry on furlough has fallen by 831,000 in the last six months, but, despite this, hospitality vacancies increased by almost 100,000 in the same time period.

Commenting on how events have unfolded, Tim Martin said: “They call it the ‘Great Reassessment’. Everyone during lockdown reassessed their lives and thought that if they were working to 1am and 2am, they could be more ambitious and instead look to have a job that allowed them to get home earlier”.

He also said that this “has put pressure on the sector.” But that the industry is slowly recovering or at least emerging from it.”

The Staff Canteen reached out for comment from Tim Martin but did not immediately get a response.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th November 2021

JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin calls for EU immigration visa to address hospitality staffing shortages