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BHA warns government over post-Brexit hospitality workforce

31 March 2017 by
BHA warns government over post-Brexit hospitality workforce

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has set out a 10-year strategy for a post-Brexit workforce in hospitality.

Following the triggering of Article 50 and the start of the process to leave the European Union, the BHA has sent the government its proposal to reduce hospitality's reliance on EU workers.

According to a KPMG report commissioned by the BHA, the hospitality industry requires an additional 60,000 workers per year on top of the 200,000 workers required to replace churn.

The Labour Migration in the Hospitality Sector report has found that the hospitality industry will be more affected by restrictions to EU migration than any other sector, with up to 24% of the workforce made up of migrants.
According to the report, 75% of waiters and waitresses, 25% of chefs and 37% of housekeeping staff in UK hospitality are from the EU.

It said that if EU migration fell to zero from 2019, the labour shortfall 10 years after Brexit would be one million.

BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: "It is clear from the KPMG report that hospitality and tourism face major problems in recruitment if there is any major cut in the number of workers allowed to enter from the EU. We want to avoid there being any cliff edge, but the government must be aware that in the medium to long term we will still need considerable numbers of EU workers, who have contributed so much to our industry and the UK economy in general.

"We have submitted our strategy to Number 10 Downing Street because we are aware of our responsibility to encourage more UK nationals to see the career opportunities available in hospitality and tourism. We do need the government to play their part too, by recognising our employment needs and recognising how important this industry, the fourth largest, is to the country."

The report was welcomed by the ALMR as a useful tool when it came to Brexit negotiations.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "At present, licensed hospitality businesses rely significantly on migrant employees, particularly workers from the EU. ALMR research shows that almost a quarter of the total hospitality and tourism workforce is comprised of non-UK workers, rising to nearly 40% for eating and drinking-out businesses, and almost half of those come from within the EU.

"If the sector can reduce its reliance on these workers, to some degree, the sense of volatility brought on by the withdrawal will be reduced.

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