Responding, to the Conservative party manifesto UFi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said:
“The BHA has been campaigning for several months for an enlarged role of the Migration Advisory Committee and welcome the proposal that the MAC would advise how the visa system can be become better aligned with the needs of the economy. We believe this should go further and the MAC should advise government on the number of visas for all strategically important sectors including hospitality and tourism, the fourth largest industry in the UK.
The hospitality and tourism industry recognises that immigration policy needs to change however with our sector predicted to create 100,000 jobs by 2020 and the UK approaching full employment the government needs to adopt a pragmatic immigration policy. The BHA has called on the government to work with the hospitality and tourism industry on a ten-year phased approach to help businesses adapt. We have already set out how this could happen and are keen to help the next administration to reposition our industry as a great place to work. The next government must work closely with businesses in industries such as ours, to develop robust and sustainable proposals to help navigate Brexit.
The independent Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates that 96% of the EU nationals who work in hospitality would not be able to enter the UK under the existing immigration rules for non-EU nationals, so it is clear that the focus simply on ‘skilled workers’ needs to be expanded. The doubling of the Skills Charge will place further costs on businesses who are facing the ‘perfect storm’ as a result of the severe rise in business rates, depreciation of the sterling and introduction of the apprenticeship levy.”