The ALMR this evening welcomed Theresa May’s statement in Brussels, in which she set out her plans for migration upon Brexit and said that she didn’t want anyone working in Britain to have to leave. The Prime Minister announced that, subject to reciprocity and negotiation on detail, EU nationals resident in the UK for more than five years would be offered residency. A criteria to build up a new ‘settled EU status’ for those with shorter residency is another stated aim, along with other assurances to assuage concerns for EU nationals working in the UK.
Although much detail is yet to emerge, including which legal jurisdiction would wield authority and what date will be used to measure current residency, the overall nature of the announcement was welcomed by the ALMR.
Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Prime Minister’s statement is a welcome indication that the Government recognises the value of EU workers to the UK economy, and that a sensible solution will prevail. This has the makings of an insightful and pragmatic step to safeguard the rights of EU workers’ rights and, in turn, economic growth.
“The eating and drinking out sector relies on migrant workers, particularly those from the EU, and the uncertainty that has surrounded the security of their status has been unhelpful. A KPMG report in March found that without EU workers, hospitality would face a recruitment shortfall of around 60,000 workers per year. That is without taking into account projected employment growth of 200,000 – those numbers could not possibly be met by UK workers alone.
“Around 180,000 workers in eating and drinking out businesses are EU nationals. This is a huge part of a workforce that plays a significant role in the UK’s economy.
“The plans outlined by Theresa May – albeit with many questions remaining – represent a positive signal for hospitality businesses and workers alike. For a sector that is such a driving force and significant contributor to the UK’s wider economy, the benefits of an outcome that balances domestic employment needs with retained rights for EU workers would be wide-reaching.”