Published on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Government advised to drop migrant salary threshold

An independent committee, tasked with advising the UK government on migration issues in preparation for Brexit, is calling for a drop in the salary threshold.

The Migration Advisory Committee has advised the government to drop the salary threshold from £30,000 to £26,500 for all workers, but ABTA and UKInbound say the threshold is still too high.

Joss Croft, UKinbound CEO, said although the association welcomes the reduction it won't solve the industry's skills shortage where the average full-time wage is £23,000.

He also criticised the failure of the recommendations to include part-time workers, whose average salary is £17,000 and on which the travel and tourism sector relies heavily.

ABTA head of public affairs Luke Petherbridge said: "With 13% of all travel and tourism workers in the UK currently coming from EU countries, retaining the threshold, even at the lower level of £25,600, risks undermining the ability of businesses in the sector to attract the talent they need.

"The MAC report also suggests that government can address concerns about potential disruption by providing an entry route for low-skilled workers, at least temporarily. Alongside the industry's continued investment in skills and training to develop tomorrow's workforce, ABTA urges the government to consider introducing such a scheme to support the UK's vibrant tourism economy."

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls agreed a temporary visa route could work.

"The low-skilled temporary visa route into work can work for our sector, as the majority of migrants in hospitality do not work in highly-paid roles," she said.

"The MAC's proposal that government looks again at how this would work in practice is welcome. A continuing route for these incredibly valuable workers is paramount, particularly as hospitality has had the highest proportionate number of vacancies for the past 18 years."

She said currently there are 4 vacancies per 100 jobs in hospitality, compared to a figure of 2.6 for the wider economy.

"The new system must be flexible enough to address sector-specific shortages across the economy and we are happy to work with to make the case for our industry," she said.

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