The UK hospitality sector relies heavily on staff from overseas to provide its workforce. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, and following the introduction of stricter immigration rules since Brexit, access to overseas workers has become increasingly more challenging for the UK hospitality industry.
The hospitality industry has faced significant setbacks in recent times due to non-settled workers leaving the UK in light of Brexit and the pandemic. This shortage of workers has led to strong calls for the Home Office to adapt its position in support of the hospitality industry.
One of the main challenges facing the industry in its recruitment of overseas staff is that a significant proportion of jobs within the hospitality sector are not eligible for sponsorship. Jobs for waiting or bar staff, for example, are currently not included on the list of skilled occupations eligible for Skilled Worker visas.
For those job roles that do happen to be on the list of sufficiently skilled occupations, there are nonetheless still challenges in obtaining Skilled Worker visas. These include harsher scrutiny and higher refusal rates of applications made by hospitality sector employees, steep visa application fees that employers will have to cover and a potential struggle in meeting the minimum salary requirements of a Skilled Worker visa. The basic position is that a Skilled Worker must be paid a minimum of £10.75 per hour, whilst the UK National Minimum Wage for those aged 23 and above is only £10.42 per hour.
Accordingly, although sponsorship is possible within the hospitality industry, it is important for the Home Office to recognise the different requirements that the sector has, in order to properly cater for its growing immigration needs.
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The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.