New immigration legislation to negatively impact hospitality industry

Millie Milliken

Millie Milliken

20 February 2020

Leading global software provider Fourth has released figures that reveal the negative impact of the government’s new immigration legislation on the hospitality industry.

The legislation, which was announced on 19 February 2020 and will come into action on 1 January 2021, will see the salary threshold for skilled workers who want to come into the UK lower from £30,000 to £25,600. With 42% of UK hospitality employees coming from the EU (earning an average yearly salary of £18,400) and 11% from the rest of the world (£19,500), the new classification of what constitutes ‘low-skilled workers’ is set to hit the industry hard.

‘This latest announcement on immigration brings much cause for concern across all sectors in the hospitality industry,' said Mike Shipley, vice president of analytics at Fourth. ‘This move will undoubtedly add further fuel to the fire in the industry’s ongoing fight to attract and retain the best employees.

'This move will undoubtedly add further fuel to the fire in the industry’s ongoing fight to attract and retain the best employees' 

Mike Shipley

‘It’s absolutely imperative that operators gain a true understanding of the current make up of their workforce, as well as looking at ways in which they can harness the power of technology and data to be more economical and efficient with how they deploy labour.’

Fourth claims that the restaurant sector will see the biggest hit, with back-of-house staff affected the most being made up of 75% overseas workers on an average hourly wage of £9.17. The QSR (quick service restaurant) sector will also be heavily affected with 61% of its workers being from overseas and on an hourly wage of £9.46, while pubs and hotels will being impacted on a slightly lower – albeit still large – scale, with 33% and 40% of overseas workers respectively.

With the added issue of the rise of the National Living Wage in April, operators need to prepare for the impact. Management experts Bizimply are offering operators free NLW calculators to allow them to easily work out the cost of the increase to their business.

The legislation only applies to new visa application, with existing overseas workers being given the opportunity to apply for residency.

Statistics from Fourth are based on a sample of more than 4,000 hospitality operators across the restaurant, QSR, hotel and pub sectors.

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