Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Business needs migrants

Experts said many firms in lower-skilled sectors had built a business model in which the availability of migrant labour from the continent played an important and “sometimes vital” role. The report took evidence from more than 400 businesses, industry bodies and government departments as part of a major inquiry. It showed there were already signs of shortages of low-skilled workers in this sector, with reports from businesses of vacancies not being filled and increased advertising for staff or the use of agency labour to fill gaps.

The accommodation and hospitality sector emerged as being particularly at risk, with nearly half (43 per cent) of workers in restaurants, fast food stores, hotels and pubs originating from outside the UK. Employers in the hospitality industry warned that if they were denied the availability of EU workers, the economic impact would be “somewhere between difficult and disastrous” for many hotels.

Farmers told the committee they relied on the continued provision of seasonal workers from the EU. Following the publication of the report, farmer Guy Poskitt explained: “We can’t find enough local workers for difficult and unsociable shifts. If we haven’t got access to non-UK workers we cannot run our business. That’s not looking at the doom and gloom – that is fact.”

Responding to the report, Labour MP David Lammy said the results were "deeply worrying", adding: "Instead of taking jobs away from people living in the UK already, immigration helps to stimulate our economy...It might be politically unpopular, but the truth is that our economy needs migrants to fill the jobs that Brits won’t do or lack to the skills to do..."

Satbir Singh, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said, "It’s clear, that the main challenge for a post-Brexit Britain with an ageing population will be to continue to attract the migrants that keep our NHS and economy running.”

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