A new survey from CGA and Fourth flags concerns that government point-based proposals will hit labour in the hospitality sector.
The results from CGA’s 2020 Business Leaders’ Survey, which is run in partnership with Fourth, reinforce alarm across the industry over the impact of the government’s new plans on immigration, which will see a new points-based system brought in from January 2021.
The proposals reduce the salary threshold for employing skilled workers from overseas, but so far indicate no route into the UK for general low-skilled or temporary workers.
The survey, which was conducted before the plans were announced, reveals two in five (41%) leaders think a points-based system for immigration would have a negative impact on hospitality—twice as many as think it would have a positive impact (21%).
The poll confirms fears that the plans will make it harder to fill roles in an industry that heavily depends on overseas labour. Three quarters (77%) of business leaders think labour shortage areas should be taken into consideration when setting criteria for potential workers—significantly higher than any other factor, like language skills (56%), skilled work experience overseas (40%) or offers of employment (38%).
The Business Leaders’ Survey also reveals support for a system of temporary visas to ease pressure on labour shortages. Two thirds (66%) of leaders think a temporary visa should last for either 24 or 36 months—and just 8% don’t consider it to be a viable solution on immigration.
CGA group chief executive Phil Tate said: “We know that staff shortages are a huge concern for many restaurant, pub and bar operators, and the new proposals on immigration are only going to make things worse.
“A points-based system could dramatically affect access to labour, which would hurt investment, weaken the high street and—because we know that service and customer satisfaction are closely intertwined—ultimately reduce the pleasure of eating and drinking out.
“Our Business Leaders’ Survey shows the strength of feeling about freedom of movement in our industry and should remind the government of the damage it could do to hospitality if these proposals go ahead.”