Trade bodies respond to EU migrants policy

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) have responded to the government’s plans to assess the economic contribution of EU migrants in the UK.

The Home Office has launched an independent review into the impact of EU migrants on the UK economy following suggestions that new rules could be made for different industries.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will consider whether employing EU nationals leads to under-investment in certain areas of the economy, as well as the benefits and social costs of people from abroad moving to the UK.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “Over 700,000 Europeans work in hospitality and tourism and although we are determined to rely less on EU service workers over the coming years it will take time.

“Our industry recognises that immigration policy needs to change however at a time when unemployment is at its lowest since 1975 we will still need access to the European workforce.”

She added: “We believe this should go further and the MAC should advise government on the number of visas for all strategically important sectors including hospitality and tourism, the fourth largest industry in the UK.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of ALMR said that it “would have been useful” if the government had done this immediately after the referendum to allow businesses to plan with “much-needed certainty and clarity”.

Nicholls added: “A detailed investigation into the benefits of migration and the various differing needs of regions and sectors is a positive step from the government.

“It is absolutely vital that we have in place a system that is not burdensome, costly or overly bureaucratic and provides employers with access to employees. A report that understands and appreciates the value of, and need for, migrant workers should be a benefit.”

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