Abta has called for the government to introduce transitionary arrangements for “low-skilled” workers from the start of 2021 to avoid “serious short-term disruption” to the travel industry.
The UK government revealed plans for a new “points-based” immigration system last week to be introduced from 1 January 2021, when the UK’s current transition period with the EU is due to end.
Home secretary Priti Patel insisted last week there would be no visas issued for workers earning under £25,600 per year under the new system.
But Abta is urging the government to make a raft of changes to the planned immigration scheme, including the plea to “reconsider” the current lack of transitionary arrangements to reduce the impact on the travel industry.
Another demand is for the government to keep the £25,600 threshold under “close review” because Abta believes this figure is too high.
Research commissioned by Abta shows the average annual full-time salary for people working in the tourism industry is £22,585, compared with the overall UK average salary of £28,759.
Abta is also urging the government to negotiate new mobility arrangements to replace the EU Posted Workers Directive, which could cost up to 15,000 UK-based jobs and “undermine” the business models of many firms if a suitable alternative is not created, as well as calling for a reciprocal youth mobility deal with the EU.
Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, added: “Tourism is one of the UK’s major success stories and jobs are at stake.
“The prosperity of the tourism industry doesn’t happen by accident, and the government has a responsibility to ensure that the right policies are in place to ensure our industry continues to have access to the talent it needs to succeed.
“Europe is the UK’s primary destination and market for tourists, business travellers and workers, and the future trade talks, as well as the UK’s new immigration system, will shape the travel and tourism industry for years to come.
“The government must listen and engage with our industry; we need to work together to get the right solution.”
Abta made its demands at the launch of a new report on the subject of attracting people to work in the travel industry during its Brexit – The Immigration and Skills Challenge event in London on Monday (24 February).