“Low-skilled” EU workers to have limited entry in ‘no-deal’ scenario, recommends MAC report

EU, Brexit, Customs
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Under the Migration Advisory Committee’s final recommendations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, “low skilled” EU workers would have to use the Youth Mobility Scheme to enter the UK labour market – causing a mixed response from tourism and hospitality trade chiefs.

The only route of entry for “low skilled” EU workers following a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be the Youth Mobility Scheme, the Migration Advisory Committee has recommended in its final report.

The much anticipated document has been met with a mixed response from the tourism and hospitality industry, with the BBPA’s Brigid Simmonds giving it a broad welcome, while UK Hospitality’s Kate Nicholls described some of its recommendations as “disappoint- ing and frankly illogical”.

Both association chiefs agreed that the MAC report’s proposed extension to the Youth Mobility Scheme would help the hospitality industry maintain its often high levels of under 25 EU staff members, however both also expressed con- cern about the extent to which the report focused on the skill-level of EU workers, with Nicholls criticising the “emphasis on the economic worth of individuals, rather than the wider benefits they bring to the UK”.

While describing the MAC report as “not perfect”, Kurt Janson, director of the- TourismAlliance,agreed that the recommendations around the Youth Mobility Scheme “would at least pro- vide a mechanism for many tourism businesses to hire young workers from the EU in future”.

He also pointed out that workers from non-EU countries would be treated more
equally under the MAC report’s recommendations.

“The key points are they think that, post Brexit, EU nationals should be treated the same as potential migrants from other countries,” explained Janson. “They recommend concentrating on allowing in medium to high skilled workers through a revised version of Tier 2, with no explicit entry route for “low- skilled” workers. On the positive side, they are recommending the Youth Mobility Scheme be extended to EU nationals under which a person over 18 is able to live and work in the UK for two years before they are 33 (you must apply before you are 31).”

Janson added that “the report is predicated on the basis that immigration is not part of any deal with the EU” – meaning it is the MAC’s recommendations for a “no deal”scenario.Therefore,if a deal is struck with the EU the whole picture may look very different. For example if the UK wanted to remain in the single market post-Brexit, it would likely not be able to control immigration as much as the MAC report recommends.

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