Hospitality businesses in the UK rely upon a transient workforce that works very effectively for both employees and employers. The seasonality of many parts of the hospitality sector where staff need to be recruited in waves suits people looking for temporary work.
Hospitality businesses that see significant uplift in guests throughout the summer from tourism need staff to meet and greet, take orders for and serve food, tidy and clean up after guests have left, and generally look after essential business processes.
The UK hospitality industry is currently, and has for decades, been reliant upon a very significant proportion of their workforce being EU Nationals.
The UK hospitality industry includes 12 -24% of its total workforce being EU Nationals. Regions and sectors within the industry vary with waiters and waitresses that are EU Nationals in London for example making up 75% of the total workforce.
With approximately 40,000 foodservice venues across London the number of waitresses and waiters that are employed in any given 12 month period is substantial.
From 1st November, the day after the UK leaves the European Union on 31st October, new waiter and waitress jobs in London cannot be given to new EU Nationals entering the UK due to salary legislation linked to Brexit.
Home Secretary Preti Patel is looking to implement legislation where all immigrant workers, EU and Non-EU, must earn at least £36,700 a year after Brexit. Up from the £30,000 level imposed in Dec last year by Sajid Javid.
Both salary levels are impossible for employers to implement so do nothing other than close the door to EU Nationals wanting to work in the UK as meeters and greeters, waitresses and waiters, cleaners and tidiers.
Once the door has been closed, and the nature of a high turnover transient workforce sees more and more new people needed, it will take a solution never before identified to remedy.
The UK hospitality industry has been blighted by people and skills shortages for far too long. The impact from the UK Government’s current Brexit policy, particularly ending freedom of movement and salary requirements for entry to the UK job market, could make recent difficulties look trivial.