The government is not considering a coronavirus recovery visa despite calls from the industry for support during its well-documented and widespread staffing shortage, which threatens its recovery.
The ireported the news this morning, which has since been confirmed by the Home Office, with a spokesperson saying it would be "inappropriate" with high numbers of people in the sector still on the furlough scheme and that it wanted employers to focus on domestic employees "rather than relying on labour from abroad".
The spokesperson said: "Throughout the pandemic, the government has implemented an unprecedented package of measures to support workers and businesses right across the UK.
"We want employers to focus on training and investing in our domestic work force, especially those needing to find new employment as a result of the restrictions, rather than relying on labour from abroad.
"It would be inappropriate to introduce a new visa route with high numbers of people in the sector benefitting from the furlough scheme. We want them to be able to get back to their jobs when restrictions end."
UKHospitality has been calling for an Australian-style visa scheme to enable workers who do not meet the point-based system to come and work in the UK, which has been in place since the UK left the European Union. The trade body announced a 12-point plan to tackle the staffing crisis today, however in the meantime operators have told The Caterer they have had to cut trading hours or been unable to open due to a lack of staff.
Many EU workers are believed to have returned to their home countries during the pandemic, however those with settled status can return to live and work in the UK, with more than five million grants of status made under the EU Settlement Scheme. EU nationals are still eligible for settled or pre-settled status if they or their family members are an EU, EEA or Swiss national and were in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020.
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