Post-Brexit tourism sector to face recruitment challenges

Eloise Hanson By Eloise Hanson
14 October 2019 | Updated 14 October 2019

UK: A report from the Canterbury Christ University and UKinbound has revealed how the government’s immigration plan could negatively impact businesses of the tourism industry.

Upon leaving the European Union, the UK's freedom of movement will cease. The immigration plan was thereby proposed to replace such freedom of movement.

Prominent features of the new plan include a minimum salary threshold of £30,000, as well as imposing a skills-based merit system for European nationals who want to work in the UK post-Brexit.

Nevertheless, the new report noted that the average worker's salary in the tourism sector is lower than the national average at £17,000, with at least 100,000 EU migrants earning less than the £30,000 threshold.

Regarding the implementation of an alternative-style Australian Points System, the report urged: "The sector needs to move away from seeing itself (and thus, being seen) as a 'low-skill' sector, and seek to redefine and reposition the wider 'skills' debate."

Similarly, an ESS 2017 survey showed that tourism and hospitality employers require a range of skills, of which they are not able to access adequately from the current pool of UK labour.

When the UK tourism industry employs 3.2 million people and contributes to 7.2 per cent of the nation's GDP, the future realities of the British economy and the challenges of a post-Brexit labour market are put into perspective.

This is particularly clear in the report's findings. 71 per cent of tourism businesses said that the proposed salary threshold will negatively impact their ability to expand, whereas 65 per cent said that the proposals would impinge on their ability to continue operating.

Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, said: "This timely research shows that the government must listen to the tourism industry before committing to an immigration system that runs the risk of forcing businesses to close throughout the UK. Our tourism industry is vital to the UK economy and EU workers are crucial to ensuring that this success story continues."

The findings of the report will be conveyed to the UK's Migration Advisory Committee, which is due to then report to the Home Office with updated recommendations and policies by January 2020.

A trade association, UKinbound was established in 1977. It represents the interests of the UK's inbound tourism sector through events, market seminars, and by lobbying the government on key industry issues.

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