The British Hospitality Association has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will commission a report into the contribution EU nationals make to the UK economy and society.
The trade body has previously warned that the hospitality and tourism sector faces a “cliff edge” scenario if there is any major cut in the number of workers allowed to enter from the EU.
The hospitality sector is highly reliant on EU national workers with up to 24% of the sector’s workforce made up of EU migrants, including 75% of waiters and waitresses and 25% of chefs.
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out a major assessment of the costs and benefits of EU migration in Britain which is intended to inform new rules for immigration once freedom of movement ends.
Some critics, however, have criticised the delay in commissioning such a study more than a year after the vote to leave the EU.
The BHA has been campaigning for several months for an enlarged role of the MAC and welcomed the commissioning of the report. However, BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said the government should go further and the MAC should advise government on the number of visas for all strategically important sectors including hospitality and tourism.
“Britain needs services workers as well as scientists and engineers and we look forward to having a serious dialogue with the Home Secretary as we get into the detail of a new immigration law,” said Ibrahim.