IoD survey calls for loosening of immigration requirements to help hospitality labour crisis

IoD survey calls loosening immigration requirements hospitality EU workers
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The influential Institute of Directors has joined the clamour to bring back EU workers as an IoD survey shows that 81 percent would support a liberalisation of immigration requirements.


A survey conducted on behalf of the Institute of Directors has shown than just under half of 739 senior executives questioned (44 percent) confirmed that their businesses are operating with a shortage of staff. Of those affected, 65 percent attributed worker shortages to the UK’s long-term skills gap, whilst 4 in 10 said they are struggling with a lack of potential workers from the EU. Some 21 percent state that these shortages are due to staff having to isolate with a similar proportion reporting that furloughed or inactive staff are reluctant to return to the workforce. According to the IoD, the sector worst hit by staff shortages is hospitality.

81 percent of directors said they would support loosening immigration requirements as a way of easing the pressures on the labour market.

Labour shortages are also impacting on the salary costs facing business. Three quarters of directors say they are concerned by this. Half of those affected are observing increases in wage costs in excess of 5 percent.

In order to ensure that any recovery is not stymied by a dysfunctional labour market, the IoD is calling on the Government to increase its efforts to train workers, facilitate the issuance of working visas and reduce the costs of employment. Amongst the proposals, the IoD wants the suspension of the Immigration Skills Charge for small businesses and an action plan to explore other ways of easing Immigration restrictions. It also wants government to slash non-wage costs such as employers’ NICs for start-ups and the hospitality sector in particular.

Joe Fitzsimons, Senior Policy Advisor at the IoD commented: “Employers are keen to re-build following an incredibly turbulent 18 months for business. But the issue of labour shortages is proving disruptive across a huge range of sectors and at all levels. Ensuring that workers are available with the right skillset to perform effectively is a crucial prerequisite for recovery.

“The long-term skills gap combined with both a reduced talent pool since leaving the EU, and the immediate impact of the ‘pingdemic’, are the primary pressure points.”

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