TRADE group the Scottish Hospitality group (SHG) has called for the introduction of a migrant worker visa for the hospitality sector.
The SHG has said that a lack of staff is “preventing businesses from opening to capacity” and, even with more people expected to return to the workforce after the furlough scheme winds up at the end of September, the sector still faces a shortfall.
Access to workers from the EU through temporary one or two-year visas would “make sure all businesses can recruit the right talent”, said the group.
Stephen Montgomery, SHG spokesperson, said: “Operators can’t get staff, wage inflation is rampant and all the supply chain problems are combining to act as a brake on our economic recovery. We should expect to see more people looking for work once furlough ends but it will be too little, too late. The reality is that we need temporary one- or two-year visas for EU workers to make sure all businesses can recruit the right talent.
“Furlough has done its job and needs to end, but we still need help as we head into winter. There’s a real lack of confidence because hospitality has been the first to close and last to reopen, and people quite rightly don’t want to be responsible for implementing government rules that don’t make any sense. So that’s had the effect of pointing people towards other sectors.”
SHG member Nic Wood, owner of Signature Group, said it is “incredibly frustrating that after all we’ve been through that we can’t get enough staff to open up our venues to their full capacity or hours”.
“The issues of furlough, lack of staff and supply chain complications are jeopardising hospitality’s ability to try and scrabble back to pre-COVID trade levels,” said Wood.
“We need a visa scheme to plug the employment void that has appeared since Brexit. It’s imperative that the four nations work together to encourage people into the country that want to do these jobs so that the economy has enough staff to get back to pre-COVID levels.”