THE UK Government has been urged to reconsider its proposed post-Brexit approach to immigration in the wake of rising fears of staff shortages in the hospitality industry.
The home secretary, Sajid Javid, confirmed in his speech to the Conservative party conference last week that the government would introduce a “skills-based” system, “end to free movement of people” and make it harder to attain citizenship, prompting concerns that it could be more difficult to recruit low-skilled workers from the EU.
A hotel manager in Aviemore, who did not wish to be named, said the sector is already dealing with serious recruitment issues due to the Brexit vote.
She said: “The government cannot make it difficult for people who want to work in hospitality to get in. We are reliant on workers from the EU and this last year has been the worst ever for staffing.
“We’re struggling to find staff, everywhere in the town is the same, and it doesn’t look like it’s improving at all.”
UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “We have repeatedly flagged that it is illogical to place so much emphasis on the economic worth of individuals, rather than the wider benefits they bring to the UK.
“We will be pressing the government for a sensible and pragmatic lower skilled migrant worker route for the hospitality sector.”
David Richardson of the Federation of Small Businesses told SLTN that a “diminishing supply” of EU workers is an “acute problem” for Scottish hospitality and a flexible system is needed.