By Denis Sheehan MIH
Back in March the Migration Advisory Committee produced a report into labour shortages in the hospitality industry and the potential use of the immigration system as a response.
The report findings rejected the need to add hospitality workers to the Shortage Occupation List despite record levels of vacancies stalling the recovery of the industry.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “As we have continued to highlight, we need to have a pragmatic and sensible approach to immigration and that simply isn’t the case now.
“While the sector continues to invest significantly in growing its own talent, there needs to be changes to our immigration system to enable businesses to fill essential skills gaps.
“The Shortage Occupation List is a critical part of that and adding chefs to the list is a simple move that can have enormous benefits. In our evidence submitted to the MAC, we highlighted how a quarter of members told us they would restrict their trading hours if this level of chef vacancies continued. This is likely to be on top of cutbacks many businesses have already been forced to make.
“It’s not just chefs. Critical roles like supervisors, executive housekeepers and multi-lingual receptionists are all in high demand from the sector but they are just unable to be filled. A reclassification of these important roles to make them eligible for the skilled visa route would provide a massive boost.
“I’d urge the MAC to recognise the value hospitality can bring to the economy, when it’s operating at full strength, and grant our requests to help alleviate the devastating shortages that continue to plague our sector.”
Today in a report published by The Guardian analysis shows that the number of non-EU workers surpassed their EU counterparts for the first time in 2022, at an average of 2.7 million against 2.5 million workers last year.
Any ambitions of Brexit to limit immigration have clearly failed, as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show record levels of migration into the UK for 2022 of 606,000, a 24% increase on the previous high of 488,000 last year. This is more than double the level recorded in 2019, when the Conservative party pledged in its election manifesto to reduce immigration.
The only thing Brexit has changed is where the migration flows from. Today’s report from The Guardian shows there are now more non-EU than EU workers in a number of sectors that were previously employers of European citizens.
Before 2020 two-thirds of foreign workers in the hospitality were EU citizens, now they make up fewer than half of non-UK-born workers, according to HMRC data.
The latest vacancy figures from the Office for National Statistic show that vacancies in hospitality number 132,000.
So, five Conservatives governments after their Brexit referendum results were announced, what has Brexit achieved for its advocates?
- An increase in migration to record levels.
- A change in the location sources of migration.
- Record levels of job vacancies stifling growth.
As the Migration Advisory Committee ponder data from the ONS, HMRC, and other government and non-government sources, and seem oblivious to the information contained within the data, hospitality businesses continue to be hindered.
Alongside Brexit failing to deliver anything to its proponents, hospitality businesses are failing in record numbers as a direct consequence of an inept government and Migration Advisory Committee.