With big changes to the UK’s immigration system just weeks away at the end of the Brexit transition process, an immigration expert is urging hospitality businesses to register to employ overseas workers, or they potentially face a post Brexit shortage of workers.
Before the pandemic the industry faced a staff shortage and could again struggle to fill positions when the market begins to recover.
Home Office data shows that only 31,946 businesses are registered to sponsor applicants on Tier 2 visas, the main immigration route for working in the UK. The House of Commons business statistics shows that there are 1.4 million private sector employers in the UK, this means that only 2% are in a position to employ new arrivals from next year.
Director of London-based A Y & J Solicitors, Yash Dubal, warned that there is no time to lose to prepare for the new regulations. He went on to say that hospitality has suffered considerably under the Covid-19 restrictions. Hopefully next year will see signs of recovery as things get back to normal, but that will also require businesses being able to recruit from abroad to be able to meet the increase in demand. Hospitality has always relied heavily on recruitment from overseas, the shortage of skilled chefs in particular, shows that unless this demand for professionals can be met, it will hold British businesses back from economic growth at a time when they will most need it.
He also added: “It is shocking to me that so few businesses seem aware of these rules. My advice would be to make preparations now to make sure the UK’s hospitality sector can thrive”.
UK employers who wish to hire skilled migrants must be registered on the government visa sponsor scheme when the new immigration rules come into effect. Currently the scheme only applies to workers from outside Europe, but after 1st January 2021, all overseas workers will require a visa under the new points based immigration system.