Migration report ‘could see tourism in Northern Ireland short of 30,000 staff’
Business leaders here have expressed disappointment in a report on migration, with the hospitality industry warning of around 30,000 unfilled vacancies.
The Migration Advisory Committee has recommended EU nationals should be subject to the same rules as migrants from the rest of the world after free movement ceases to apply in the UK.
The long-awaited study also concluded that the post-Brexit immigration system should make it easier for higher-skilled workers to come to the country, while continuing to limit access for those in lower-skilled roles.
That position in particular has prompted concern in the hospitality and tourism industry, which could face up to 30,000 vacancies in Northern Ireland by 2024, according to the Institute of Hospitality.
Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster said the MAC report made for “stark reading”. He said: “While we note that the report makes reference to reducing some controls for medium skilled workers, we would argue that this should include chefs and managers in the hospitality industry.
The head of the CBI in Northern Ireland, Angela McGowan, said while the paper provides “useful insights”, it was “not a roadmap for a new system”.
She called on the UK Government to pursue “a flexible, open and controlled system”, adding: “It is vitally important that any such system works for the whole UK taking into account Northern Ireland’s unique challenges.”
Aodhan Connolly of the NI Retail Consortium claimed that “tightly restricting the migration system would have a negative impact”.