Lake District Hoteliers Raise Concerns Over Proposed £1,000 Fee For EU Workers
Concerns have been raised from within the local hospitality industry following suggestions by Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill that UK businesses could be charged £1,000 for every EU worker they recruit following Brexit.
Mr Goodwill, speaking earlier this month to the House of Lords EU home affairs sub-committee had said that the Brexit vote indicated that voters felt companies were relying too much on migrant workers to fill vacancies and not enough was being done to ensure that “the skills are available from our own people”. The charge “would be helpful to the British economy and to British workers who feel they are overlooked because of other people coming into the country getting jobs they would themselves like to get,” he said.
A similar levy for skilled non-EU workers is to be introduced this April. Under the existing scheme, otherwise known as the immigration skills levy, larger organisations that recruit workers from outside the EU will need to pay £1,000 per recruit while smaller businesses and charities will pay a reduced rate of £364.
A recent survey within the hospitality industry revealed that 43% of workers employed within the industry (restaurants, hotels, pubs and quick service restaurants) are foreign nationals, with restaurant kitchens employing the most overseas workers.
Tim Rumney, Vice Chair of the Lake District Hotels Association, which is made up of 34 hotels and 20 attractions throughout Cumbria, commented “Enforcing this fee will be nothing short of devastating for the hospitality industry, an industry that contributes around £143 billion to the UK economy and provides employment for an estimated 4.6 million people. Several of our member hotels employ European workers, many of whom have worked their way up through the ranks to management positions and built careers for themselves here and now fear for the future of their jobs. We are already struggling to fill positions from food and beverage service right up to heads of department because of an absence of good applicants. This policy would pull the rug out from under our ability to employ quality staff from overseas and add even more cost and red tape into our industry. We are already witnessing fears among our member hotels, which are losing members of staff because of Brexit concerns. This can only worsen if further financial strain is put on hoteliers employing EU workers.”
“Over the past year, our industry seems to have been disproportionately affected by Government legislation. Add to this the inevitable job losses that will come as a result of this fee and it puts hoteliers in an extremely difficult position. What we now need to see is some form of clarity and reassurance on how Brexit will affect European workers in the UK.”nce on how Brexit will affect European workers in the UK.”