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Skills gap won't be met if migrant restrictions are imposed

31 October 2006

The limit on the number of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants allowed to work in the UK will have a damaging effect on hospitality employers, according to a leading hotel recruiter.

George Chalmers, manager of hotel-jobs-scotland.com, Scotland's largest recruiter of staff from Eastern Europe, said Home Secretary John Reid was wrong to impose restrictions on the two countries when they join the EU in January 2007.

The ban will leave businesses struggling to fill vacancies, Chalmers said, given the large and increasing number of vacancies in the hospitality and construction sectors.

"It's not a question of cheap labour; it is a question of filling a skills gap," Chalmers told the Scotsman. "We had really been gearing up for Bulgaria and Romania, but now Reid has really caused problems for me and my clients."

Chalmers estimated that he had placed about 3,000 Eastern Europeans in UK jobs since the 10 former communist countries joined the EU in 2004.

No need to worry about influx of migrants, say hospitality industry leaders >>

Hospitality businesses could face £2,000 for employing illegal staff >>

Employers divided over ban on eastern European migrants >>

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts to recruit chefs directly from Poland >>

By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

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