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Lords warn government must be ‘flexible' on visas to protect industry

26 July 2018 by
Lords warn government must be ‘flexible' on visas to protect industry

Highly mobile industries dependent on labour from within the EU will suffer unless the government can broker a deal with the EU on bespoke visas, peers in the House of Lords have warned.

Using the cultural sector as an example, peers claimed that an end to fast, easy access to the UK could harm the industry unless the visa system was adapted to allow visas for paid engagements, festivals or tours of the country.

The report Brexit: Movement of People in the Cultural Sector, published today, notes the movement of cultural workers as just one case study of a sector that could struggle due to its dependence on free movement around the EU.

While the government's recently released white paper on Brexit proposes a "co-operative accord" between the EU and the UK on immigration, the committee raised concerns that no concrete steps have been taken, and with fewer than 250 days to go until Britain leaves the union.

Lord Jay of Ewelme, who chairs the committee, said: "If the government is to achieve its wish to establish an immigration system that meets the needs of the post-Brexit economy, the UK's negotiators will need to be flexible.

"This means recognising that any restrictions on EU citizens wishing to enter the UK to work may be matched by reciprocal restrictions on UK workers in the EU."

It comes as UKHospitality welcomes the Home Office's work on providing practical advice to EU nationals currently working and living in the UK.

The government has repeatedly affirmed that non-UK citizens from the EU retain the right to stay and work in Britain provided they arrive before 1 January 2021 and gain settled status.

However, to ensure EU nationals are aware of their rights, UKHospitality has worked with the Home Office to prepare a 'toolkit' of information for those concerned about remaining in the UK after Brexit.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "Dissemination of information to employees is going to be absolutely crucial as we move towards Brexit.

"Members have consistently told us they need information from government to reassure their EU staff they are welcome in the UK and so this is a big step forward.

"Clear communication with EU citizens on how to register themselves and their dependants for settled status is essential."

Nicholls added: "Hospitality businesses need clarity and transparency in order to prepare for life beyond the transition period and outside of the EU.

"UKHospitality will be working with the Home Office in the near future to ensure that hospitality businesses are armed with all the tools to prosper in the coming years."

Fall in migration from the EU an 'alarming portent of possible disaster' for hospitality>>

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