How will the new skills-based immigration policy impact on the hospitality industry?

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd October 2018

With tough plans in place to curtail the immigration of 'low-skilled' workers, how will this affect the hospitality industry?

We all know that there is a chef and hospitality worker shortage but today’s announcement from Prime Minister Theresa May could cause an even bigger deficit to an industry that is struggling to fulfil a variety of jobs.

Workers who are classified as ‘highly-skilled’ will be given priority over those who head to the UK for low-paid jobs under new immigration rules after Brexit.

The Prime Minister said: “It will be a skills-based system where it is workers’ skills that matter, not where they come from. It will be a system that looks across the globe and attracts the people with the skills we need.

She added: “The new skills-based system will make sure low-skilled immigration is brought down and set the UK on the path to reduce immigration to sustainable levels, as we promised. At the same time, we are training up British people for the skilled jobs of the future.”

Some roles within the hospitality industry could be considered as ‘low-skilled’ and there are many workers from a variety of countries who are currently fulfilling these roles.

The hospitality industry currently doesn’t have enough workers to fulfil the thousands of hospitality jobs throughout the United Kingdom. So, what can be to be done to remedy this?

Closing the skills gap is certainly a priority and this could help reduce the massive deficit of available workers. However, with 43% of hospitality workers in the restaurants, café and pub industry being foreign nationals, this will severely impact on restaurants, bars and more being able to fill those all-important vacancies.

Utilising and developing apprenticeships schemes, such as the scheme set up by chef Paul Ainsworth are a viable option attract more young people into the industry will hopefully help increase the number of people taking up roles in hospitality. 

However, many British nationals are choosing not to go into a career in the hospitality industry which is further contributing to the shortage of workers. Variables such as the long, unsociable hours, the stress, the pressure and the potential impact on mental health are all factors that could put people off from working in hospitality.

The Confederation of British Industry has expressed concern about the proposed crackdown on ‘low-skilled workers’. They said: “It would make a shortage of care, construction and hospitality workers worse, adding: "Restricting access to the workers the UK needs is self-defeating."

When speaking to the Metro, Jill Rutter from the independent Think Tank The Institute for Government confirmed that a lot of sectors – such as hospitality were dependent on low-paid migration. She said: “If the post-exit new migration strategy is that those jobs should be available to Brits, then the question is “does that sector start to pay enough to attract the British workers” in who have so far said they actually don’t want to work in those sectors which is why that sector has become extraordinarily dependent on EU migration.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd October 2018

How will the new skills-based immigration policy impact on the hospitality industry?