The Home Office is looking at plans for “Barista Visas” and new rules for migrants, after hospitality industry experts warned many business will close. The British Hospitality Industry has warned that hotels, restaurants and bars will be forced to shut as there is a severe shortage of British workers and a steady stream of migrants is needed.
Pret Manger’s HR Chief Andrea Wareham told a government committee in June that no British people want to work at the chain. Only one in 50 job applicants to the hugely popular sandwich chain is British, she said.
Ms Wareham told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee: “I would say that one in 50 people that apply to our company to work is British.”
Under new plans young EU citizens can come to the UK and work for two years within the hospitality industry however, they will not be allowed to claim for housing or benefits once the UK leaves the EU.
Lord Green who is a former ambassador and now works with the think-tank Migration Watch UK suggested the two-year visa plan. A senior source at the Home Office said to The Sun this is a “good idea”.
“We can kill two birds with one stone here,” said Lord Green to The Sun. “We can meet the needs of pubs and restaurants and maintain our links with young Europeans by allowing them to come for a strictly limited period of two years to work.
“They could work at any level but would not become long-term immigrants who would add to the pressure on public services. Nor should they qualify for benefits or housing. It is quite possible that an unlimited supply of cheap labour has been a disincentive to investment in machinery.”
Lord Green said the scheme could also be extended to EU 27 members as it also applies to people from Monaco, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. However, Lord Green added that increasing pay with new production methods within the industry to attract British workers should be thought about first.
Although back in June Ms Wareham said on the subject of increasing pay that “I actually don’t think increasing pay would do the trick, I can only talk for Pret on this, but we do pay well above the National Living Wage, we do have great benefits and we offer fantastic careers”.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Leaving the European Union allows Britain to take control of our immigration system. We are working across Government to identify and develop options to shape our future system to ensure the best possible outcome for the British people.
“It is logical to consult on proposals to make sure businesses, services and communities can contribute their views. However, as we are currently considering the various options as to how EU migration might work once we have left, it would be wrong to set out further positions at this stage.”