The scheme under consideration would allow young individuals, aged 18-30 from select European countries, to work in the UK for up to two years without needing employer sponsorship.
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.
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. This is where the consideration of the new scheme could be very welcome.
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