With staffing shortages still hitting many hospitality and leisure businesses both here in Newport East and across the UK, last week I wrote to the Secretary of State for the Home Department to ask:
What assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending access to temporary visas to staff working in the hospitality sector?
In reply, I was referred to the answer to a similar question I put to the Secretary of State back last year, which doesn’t really offer any help in terms of short-term staffing pressures.
“The Points Based System provides for several occupations within the hospitality and tourism sectors, including chefs, publicans, restaurant managers and hotel managers to be recruited on a global basis, subject to the requirements of the system, including English language and salary, thresholds being met.
Beyond the Points Based System, there is the existing UK labour market, which includes those who come to the UK through our Youth Mobility Schemes (which we are looking to expand), our new British National (Overseas) visa for those from Hong Kong, dependants of those arriving under the expanded skilled worker route, as well as over 6 million applications under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who arrive through our family and humanitarian protection routes, who all have access to the UK labour market.
We therefore do not intend to introduce a general immigration route allowing recruitment at or near the minimum wage in occupations with relatively short work-based training requirements.
Most of the solutions to recruitment issues need to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed, alongside taking advantage of the schemes offered by Department for Work and Pensions to support employers looking to recruit, rather than turning to the Home Office for immigration policy changes as an alternative to doing this.”