Government Plans To Curb Migrant Workers Would Be A Disaster For Hospitality Sector Says CEO

Government Plans To Curb Migrant Workers Would Be A Disaster For Hospitality Sector Says CEO

07 September 2017

Commenting on today’s news reports that the British Government is considering placing a cap on low-skilled workers entering the UK, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster, said it would be 'a disaster’ for the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.

Colin Neill, CEO of Hospitality Ulster said:

"These reports are deeply alarming and would prove to be a disaster for the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.

To limit entry to the UK based on specific skills and to place a cap on migrant workers without the deemed skills would critically hamper and undermine the development of the hospitality sector in NI, which sustains 60,000 jobs and contributes £1.1 billion to the economy annually.

By 2024, just seven years from now, we will need an additional 2000 chefs and in total the sector will have over 30,000 jobs vacancies to fill over the same period. The reality is that we cannot fill those positions by recruiting from Northern Ireland alone, especially given our low unemployment rate.

Currently one in five of the workforce in the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland is accounted for by foreign workers.

It is clear that access to migrant workers is essential if we are to continue to build a strong, prosperous hospitality sector that plays a key role in supporting the overall economy.

Any cap on workers would need to be set at a level that allows our industry to sustain itself and grow. That is in the interests of everybody in Northern Ireland."