Hospitality leaders are urging the government to introduce a ‘coronavirus recovery visa’ to encourage international workers to return to the UK. It comes after the widespread reopening of pubs and restaurants, which has revealed a shortage of foreign staff, many of whom returned home when the pandemic first hit the UK.
Many pub and restaurant bosses would like a version of the Post Covid-19 Economic Recovery visa, which the Australian government launched to encourage foreign workers to work in the country. It added the hospitality and tourism sectors to the list of eligible industries that urgently needed help, with the aim of supporting pubs, restaurants and hotels.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade association, UKHospitality, said:
“We’ve…suggested an Australian style coronavirus recovery visa for lower skilled workers who don’t meet the point-based system, but who are crucial to the recovery.”
The sector has also asked for the government to review the ‘shortage occupation’ list and add hospitality workers to it. The UK’s current immigration system only permits people to apply for skilled worker visas that relate to a limited number of sectors including science, healthcare and engineering.
Chris Brazier, business immigration partner says:
“The urgent calls from the hospitality sector to introduce a new visa to help hire international staff and the examples of leading restaurant chains offering substantial financial rewards to employees to recruit their friends, clearly shows how desperate pubs, restaurants and hotels are for more staff.
The situation is likely to get worse with school holidays on the horizon, when more people will be enjoying meals out and taking breaks across the country. Whatever the government do to help, we’ll keep our clients up to date with the latest developments and can assist with assessing sponsorship or other visa options.”