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Employment / Uncategorised / 19 December 2018

BBPA welcomes Immigration White Paper as “positive step forward”

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has today responded to the publication of the Immigration White Paper.

Commenting on the Immigration White Paper, BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds said:

“We welcome the Immigration White Paper and its recognition that migrant workers play an important role in the UK economy. Greater flexibility shows the Government has been listening to the beer and pub sector as well as the wider business community.

“We have previously called for a review of the Tier system and welcome the intention outlined by the Government to remove the annual cap on the number of Tier-2 work visas issued, widen the skills threshold to include people with qualifications equivalent to that of A levels, and end the requirements for labour market tests by employers wanting to sponsor a worker.

“We have also previously raised our concerns over retaining the salary cap of £30,000 as pub chefs, who are very much in short supply within our sector, would in many cases not meet this prohibitively high cap. A further consultation on the appropriate salary cap is therefore most welcome and we will also seek that chefs are included on the shortage occupation list going forwards.

“It is good that the white paper recognises the administrative burden involved in employing migrant workers, particularly for SMEs, stating that the Government intends to make the visa sponsorship process less onerous. No small pub could take on the current sponsorship requirements as they stand, let alone the cost and bureaucracy that currently goes with it.

“The BBPA has repeatedly called for the Youth Mobility Scheme to be extended to the whole of the EU, so it is great to see the Government commit to doing this in the white paper. The Youth Mobility Scheme allows young people up to the age of 30 from a prescribed list of countries to work in the UK for up to two years and considering some 42% of employees in pubs are under the age of 25, it is great news for our sector.

“Whilst through the proposed Tourism Sector Deal we will be working hard to recruit and retain more UK nationals, the announcement of an additional transitionary short term work visa for workers from low-risk countries will also be welcomed by our sector.

“The white paper has outlined that the Government does not intend to require visitors from the EU to require a visa to travel to the UK. This is good news for the Britain’s brewers and pubs who are a vital part of the countries tourism industry.

“Overall, the Immigration White Paper is a more positive step forward than had been anticipated for Britain’s beer and pub sectors and addresses some of our key concerns. However, there are still some major challenges to address in terms of salary thresholds, costs and affordability and we look forward to building on it through consultations and discussions with the Government moving forward.”

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