We’ll help Davis hammer out immigration law, says British Hospitality Association
Hospitality and tourism leaders are urgently seeking a meeting with Brexit Secretary David Davis to hammer out an EU migration plan following Mr Davis’ “heartening” comments this week that the UK would keep its door open for service workers in hospitality, agriculture and social care.
In a letter to Mr Davis, the British Hospitality Association, the leading tourism body, said it would welcome the opportunity to help shape the UK’s new immigration law. It was reassured by Mr Davis’ recognition that it would take “years and years” to get British workers ready to fill jobs done by European migrants.
The chief executive of the BHA, Ufi Ibrahim, said today: “We are delighted that Mr Davis has listened to the realistic and clear arguments we have made that it will take time to replace the 700,000 EU workers who work in our industry, the UK’s fourth largest. We want to now have a serious dialogue with the Government as we get into the nitty gritty of a new immigration law.
“We think that in the interests of maintaining our strong economy, which Mr Davis recognises is dependent on service workers from the EU, there needs to be a rigorous evidence-based approach to immigration. We suggest that this would be best done by expanding the role of the Migration Advisory Committee, which up till now has dealt with matters outside the EU.
Ms Ibrahim continued: “We also need to ensure that any new law is not overly bureaucratic or costly as 80 per cent of the 200,000 businesses in the hospitality sector are SMEs employing less than 10 people. Many of these businesses are already just about managing, and increased costs could put them over the edge.
She said: “We are determined to rely less on EU service workers over the coming years but it will take time, as Mr Davis has recognised. This is why we have already urged the government to consider a phased approach. We at the BHA will be focusing our efforts on promoting hospitality as a rewarding and exciting career to UK workers.”
Notes to Editors
- The British Hospitality Association is the forum for leading businesses in the UK hospitality and tourism industry. We serve and represent over 46,000 private sector establishments. Our role is to promote the interests of operators, brands and owners across hotels, restaurants and food service, serviced apartments, clubs and visitor attractions. The British Hospitality Association shapes the future of hospitality and tourism as a driver for international competitiveness, economic growth and valuable careers – to ensure British hospitality and tourism is the best in the world. Working together with industry and government, we aim to deliver three goals:
- competitive advantage for our country
- sustainable growth for our industry
- valuable new jobs for our people
The hospitality and tourism industry is a lynchpin of the UK economy, our fourth largest industry, employing 4.49 million people. Hospitality alone accounted for one in five of all new jobs created in the UK between 2010 and 2014. Over the past five years the industry has delivered 331,000 new jobs and is on track to deliver a further 100,000 new jobs by the end of the decade. It represents 10% of GDP, equivalent to £143 billion.
Sara Williams/ Charlie Burgess
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