Social Integration Must Not Cost Hospitality Operators

Kate Nicholls
Kate Nicholls, CEO of the ALMR.

The ALMR has reacted to the publication of a report into migrant integration by welcoming its acknowledgement of the value of non-UK workers but warning against additional costs for businesses and disadvantaging companies that employ migrant staff.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration has published the report: Integration not Demonisation, voicing concerns about the integration of migrant workers into the UK, and recommending the adoption of regional quotas and the introduction of a levy on employing migrant workers, to pay for social integration projects.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Migrant workers make a hugely valuable contribution to the UK economy and are particularly vital to eating and drinking out businesses and the report rightly acknowledges this.

“We need a legislative approach that gives employers access to the employees they need to grow their businesses. Naturally, with virtually full employment, a significant number of these are going to be non-UK workers, so barriers preventing their easy employment will harm the UK’s eating and drinking out sector.

“It is important to stress that eating and drinking out businesses do not actively court foreign staff members at the expense of British ones. There simply is not the pool of UK labour needed to fill vacancies in our sector and non-UK workers are doing a fantastic job in filling those gaps.

“We need collectively to highlight the importance of non-UK workers, reinforcing the fact that they are welcome in the UK and that the huge contribution they make doesn’t go unnoticed.”

The ALMR has also warned that proposals to introduce a regional quota system of migrant workers or a levy on employing non-UK workers would only heap costs on employers and undermine investment.

Nicholls concluded: “The Government needs to produce and implement an immigration strategy that acknowledges these points and allows for the easy employment of workers from overseas. Crucially, this means avoiding a regional quota system or an employee levy that will only throw up further barriers to growth for businesses and undermine investment.”