Businesses warned to 'adjust' to end of cheap EU workers in immigration shake-up

Hotels, restaurants, bars and other businesses “will need to adjust” to having their supply of cheap EU workers cut off, the Home Office has warned.

Free movement from the bloc ends on December 31 and experts believe the hospitality sector will be one of the hardest-hit by a post-Brexit overhaul of the UK immigration system.

The Government will confirm there will be no visa option for low-skilled migrant workers after this year.

It means bosses hoping to hire staff in industries which have come to rely on foreign labour will have to employ Britons or find other ways of coping with a clampdown on low-skilled migration from the continent.

Free movement will end once the UK leaves the EU

A Home Office policy statement says: “We will not introduce a general low-skilled or temporary work route.

“We need to shift the focus of our economy away from a reliance on cheap labour from Europe and instead concentrate on investment in technology and automation. Employers will need to adjust.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Today is a historic moment for the whole country.

“We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down.

“We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”

The shake-up is designed to cut the number of low-skilled migrants entering Britain, but make it easier for those with “the highest skills and the greatest talents”, such as scientists, engineers and academics, to get UK visas.

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Migrants hoping to the come to the UK will need 70 points under the new scheme, with a range of qualifying criteria.

Points will be awarded for key requirements like being able to speak English to a certain level, having a job offer from an approved employer and meeting a minimum salary threshold.

The salary threshold for skilled migrants will be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600 for those coming with a job offer.

The level will be just £20,480 for those who can prove they have an offer in an occupation where there is a shortage.

It is estimated 70% of EU workers in the UK would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route,

The paper adds: “We will deliver a system that works in the interests of the whole of the UK and prioritises the skills a person has to offer, not where they come from.

“For too long, distorted by European free movement rights, the immigration system has been failing to meet the needs of the British people.

“Our approach will change all of this.”

Employers have until January 1 to meet the requirements and ensure their staff have a right to work in the UK.

Cafes and bars can no longer rely on cheap EU labour

The decision comes after campaigners warned putting up barriers on hiring workers from overseas could cause “huge difficulties” in social care and may prevent carers being able to come to the UK to work.

Last month, the Migration Advisory Committee said replacing freedom of movement with a points-based immigration system could cut economic growth and may only lead to small improvements in standards of living.

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The Government’s proposed overhaul could have “zero effect” on providing more British jobs for British workers, it suggested.

Under the plans, the UK will have “full control over who comes to this country” for the “first time in decades, the paper pledged.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: “This isn’t an ‘Australian points-based system’ – which is a meaningless government soundbite – it’s a salary threshold system, which will need to have so many exemptions, for the NHS, for social care and many parts of the private sector, that it will be meaningless.

“Just as important is what rights will be attached to these visas.

“If families are split up because spouses and children are denied entry, this will be terrible for them and will deter many of the workers we need.

“If they are all short-term visas only the most desperate workers will come, and will have the effect of creating a two-tier workforce.

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“Ultimately, it will also be very difficult to attract the workers we need at all skill levels while the Tories’ hostile environment is in place.

“It needs to go.

Labour will be pressing hard on all these points as the legislation proceeds.”



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