BHA offers to help Brexit Secretary hammer out immigration law

David Davis Hospitality and tourism leaders are urgently seeking a meeting with Brexit Secretary David Davis to hammer out an EU migration plan following Mr Davis’ ÒhearteningÓ comments this week that the UK would keep its door open for service workers in hospitality, agriculture and social care.

ÒWe are delighted that Mr Davis has listened to the realistic and clear arguments we have made that it will take time to replace the 700,000 EU workers who work in our industry, the UK’s fourth largest,” said Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA).Ê”We want to now have a serious dialogue with the Government as we get into the nitty gritty of a new immigration law.

ÒWe think that in the interests of maintaining our strong economy, which Mr Davis recognises is dependent on service workers from the EU, there needs to be a rigorous evidence-based approach to immigration.ÊWe suggest that this would be best done by expanding the role of the Migration Advisory Committee, which up till now has dealt with matters outside the EU.

In a letter to Mr Davis, the BHA, the leading tourism body, said it would welcome the opportunity to help shape the UK’s new immigration law. It was reassured by Mr Davis’ recognition that it would take Òyears and yearsÓ to get British workers ready to fill jobs done by European migrants.

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ÒWe also need to ensure that any new law is not overly bureaucratic or costly as 80 per cent of the 200,000 businesses in the hospitality sector are SMEs employing less than 10 people,” said Ms Ibrahim.Ê”Many of these businesses are already just about managing, and increased costs could put them over the edge.

ÒWe are determined to rely less on EU service workers over the coming years but it will take time, as Mr Davis has recognised. This is why we have already urged the government to consider a phased approach. We at the BHA will be focusing our efforts on promoting hospitality as a rewarding and exciting career to UK workers.Ó

Chancellor Philip Hammond is also coming under pressure from the hospitality sector to act to ease business rates. The pre-budget call came from the British Hospitality Association as the Scottish parliament introduced a 12.5 per centÊcap on business rates for hotels, pubs and restaurants.

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