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‘Alarming' fall in migrant worker numbers foreshadows ‘disaster' for hospitality

12 November 2018 by
‘Alarming' fall in migrant worker numbers foreshadows ‘disaster' for hospitality

New figures have shown an "alarming" fall in the number of both EU and non-EU migrants working in the UK, as experts warn "the pendulum has swung away from the UK as an attractive place to live and work".

The number of non-UK born workers employed in the UK fell by 58,000 between April and June last year and the same period this year. The fall compares with an increase of more than a quarter of a million between the same periods in 2016 and 2017.

The employers questioned also expressed concern that proposals made by the Migration Advisory Committee earlier this year will fail to meet their recruitment needs.

Only one in 10 believed that extending the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU nationals would meet their recruitment needs, while 33% said extending the current points-based system to EU-workers would place too great an administrative burden on them and 26% said the expected £30,000 salary threshold would be too high.

UKHospitality has said the prioritising of high-skilled workers is threatening a staffing "disaster" for hospitality.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls explained: "The figures released by CIPD make alarming reading for hospitality businesses. With unemployment relatively low, businesses need to recruit from outside the UK to augment their home-grown teams and continue to grow.

"We have already voiced our concerns about the ability of employers to recruit post-Brexit, but the worrying reality is that numbers of non-UK workers are dwindling, and we haven't even left the EU yet.

"If the talent pool continues to shrink, then businesses will be unable to invest and grow their businesses.

"Even more concerning for hospitality businesses is the government's intention to implement an immigration policy that favours higher-skilled technical jobs at the expense of others. Restricting potential applicants into the hospitality sector further, when the number of non-UK born workers is already shrinking, will be a disaster for the sector."

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market analyst for the CIPD, said: "The data implies that the pendulum has swung away from the UK as an attractive place to live and work for non-UK born citizens, especially non-EU citizens, during a period of strong employment growth and low unemployment. This has heightened recruitment difficulties for some employers.

"It also underlines the risk that more non-UK-born citizens and employers will be discouraged from using the post-Brexit system if more support is not provided and it is not made simpler, fairer and more affordable; especially for lower-skilled roles."

An industry in crisis, part one: Why are we sleepwalking into a staffing catastrophe?>>

An industry in crisis, part two: Behind the headlines>>

An industry in crisis, part three: What the operators say>>

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