Government to consult on proposed £30,000 immigrant salary cap

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Government to consult on proposed £30,000 immigrant salary cap
The government is to launch a consultation on setting a £30,000 salary threshold for ‘skilled' EU migrants wanting to work in the UK.

The cap was outlined in the immigration white paper​ ​released today (19 December), which details plans to end the right for 'low skilled' EU migrants to permanently live and work in the country.

The salary threshold, which already applies to non-EU workers, will be subject to a year-long review with businesses and employers.

But trade body UKHospitality warned the proposal was ‘fundamentally flawed’ and would ‘damage’ the hospitality sector, which is estimated to employ 700,000 EU workers - many of which earn less than £30,000.

The white paper says some employers have become ‘reliant’ on ‘lower skilled’ workers from the EU for certain jobs.

Under the proposed new rules, to be phased-in from 2021, ‘low-skilled’ migrants will be allowed to enter the UK to work on temporary 12-month visas until 2025 to allow businesses to adapt.

But UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls says this risks creating a lack of parity between staff.

“The introduction of 12-month temporary visa could risk creating a dual workforce, with those permitted to stay being invested in and those on temporary visas unable to plan or progress,” says Nicholls. “This could prove a significant drag on productivity.

"We need the government to keep to its word, listen to business over the next 12 months and realise that these proposals will be crippling for business, and Britain's high streets in particular.

"An immigration policy that recognises the contributions of migrants of all skill levels is one that works for Britain."

The British Takeaway Campaign, whose members include K10 Restaurants, Just Eat and the Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA), is calling for takeaway restaurants to be exempt from the proposals.

“[The] insistence on suggesting skills in the takeaway and hospitality sector are 'low' and using salary as a crude measure to decide how important they are is deeply disappointing and will have a huge impact on our sector,” says Ibrahim Dogus, chair of the British Takeaway Campaign.

“That’s why we are calling for takeaway restaurants to be offered a sectoral exemption within the government’s proposed immigration rules, and for a transition period that gives sufficient time to allow for the training of domestic workers.”

In 2016 the BCA backed the Vote Leave campaign​ in the hope that restrictions on EU workers would see the government relax its £30,000 salary cap on staff from outside Europe. However, the group told The East London Advertiser​ last month that they were 'misled' and are now calling for a second referendum.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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