Immigration changes will be a bureaucratic nightmare for skilled EU workers, says Tom Jenkins, ETOA

The cabinet has given the green light to the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations which prioritises medium to high skilled migrants and does not give preference to EU citizens. It also gets rid of the cap for the highly skilled.

It sounds good, but this will result in more red tape for us in the travel industry, not less .

The Migration Advisory Committee admitted that there will be winners and losers with  any changes in migration policy post Brexit and it also recognised that the UK’s demand for low skilled workers cannot be met domestically.

The UK’s travel and hospitality industry has been vocal in saying that they will be hit hard – and that’s not just because we are keen to grow our industry and need  low skilled workers. Our industry also demands a workforce with high levels of language and interpersonal skills if we are to provide a top quality product.

At the moment we have an EU talent pool of 500 million to recruit from freely. If these recommendations proceed, skilled EU applicants wanting to work in the UK will  be required to go through the highly restrictive and bureaucratic procedures of the Tier 2 system.

We have surveyed ETOA members extensively about work visas, as they have a great deal of experience with Tier 2 in recruiting talent from non-EU countries. Our members report Tier 2 to be a ‘nightmare’. It requires elaborate form filling, a minimum stipulated wage, extensive justifications for hiring the worker and a limbo period that can be weeks. Eighty-five per cent who had experience of the Tier 2 system described it “difficult to impossible” and nearly 80% of companies predicted a substantial detrimental impact on productivity if Tier 2 was extended to EU citizens.

We will have nowhere near the number of workers that we need from all skill levels.

The ETOA Summit on 9th October will examine the subject of visas in greater detail with MEP István Ujhelyi, Chair of the European Parliament’s tourism task force, and member of the EU Parliament’s delegation to China leading discussions.

In addition, speakers including MEPs, representatives from intergovernmental organisations and industry pioneers will lead sessions on tourism trends; destination management strategy and the potential impact of Brexit.

We are also delighted to announce that Bas Lemmens, CEO of (part of; co-founder of and head of government affairs for the World Travel and Tourism Council will make a key speech about disruption and the contribution of entrepreneurs to the growth of the sector in Europe.

The ETOA European Tourism Summit is one of the five annual flagship B2B events ETOA organises for members, which offer unparalleled, face-to-face networking and contracting opportunities.