New proposals aimed at slashing immigration after Brexit have been attacked by the CEO of Shakespeare’s England, who warns that such measures could hit the hospitality sector hard.
A government white paper on immigration last week raises the idea of a £30,000 minimum salary threshold for skilled migrants wishing to come to the UK.
The plan has drawn criticism from Helen Peters, CEO of Shakespeare’s England, the destination management organisation which promotes Stratford and the surrounding area.
She said: “Putting a £30,000 minimum threshold salary on skilled migrants is going to have a major impact on the tourism and hospitality sector right across the UK.
“If that requirement is adopted, it will provide companies in the sector with a huge, and possibly insurmountable, problem as so many staff come from within the EU and do not command salaries even approaching that level, yet, in their field, they are highly skilled.
“That problem is made worse by the fact that many regions – including ours – have virtually full employment so hiring of foreign nationals is not a choice it is a simple business necessity.
“Huge efforts are being made in Coventry and Warwickshire and around the UK to plug the tourism skills gap, but these initiatives take time to develop and will not magically solve problems overnight.
“We need to make it clear that the plan will have massive impact on tourism and that will have a ripple effect on the wider economy. Since 2010 tourism has been the fastest-growing sector in the economy, employs almost 10 per cent of the working population and account for around £3 million jobs in the UK.”
This week there was criticism of Stratford District Council for failing to hold a vote on whether to support a ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit, following a petition signed by more than 1,000 local residents urging the authority to consider the idea.