Abta chief Mark Tanzer has written to the government to renew the association’s call for a resolution on posted workers, with tens of thousands of seasonal travel roles still at-risk owing to Brexit.
The UK’s departure from the EU at the start of the year means it can no longer utilise the EU Posted Workers Directive, which allowed travel firms to "post" 15,000 to 20,000 workers overseas to fulfil vital roles within EU member states serving British holidaymakers.
Tanzer’s letter to minister of state Lord Frost, said Abta on Thursday (15 April), highlights the industry’s wide-ranging needs with regards to the UK’s future relationship with the union.
"The letter raises the very serious challenges relating to labour mobility owing to restrictions on temporary entry of tourism workers across the EU," said Abta.
The association said it had been advised it would now be up to individual member states to adopt their own rules for UK nationals seeking to carry out seasonal work.
Abta, along with Seasonal Businesses in Travel, a coalition of more than 200 outbound travel companies, has for several years raised concerns about the lack of continuity arrangements on posted workers, warning the loss of the directive will force firms to employ EU nationals on local payrolls instead of predominantly young UK nationals aged 18-34 looking to build a career in travel.
One "partial solution" touted by Abta is the UK’s reciprocal Youth Mobility Scheme, a Tier 5 visa system which already covers a number of countries; Abta says it wants the government to look at extending this scheme to EU countries.
"There is also significant support among the UK’s inbound tourism industry for an extension of the Youth Mobility Scheme," said Abta.
The UK-EU Brexit agreement includes "several individual reservations" restricting the rights of UK nationals to perform certain roles in different member states, said Abta.
"One important example for outbound travel affects the ability of UK nationals to provide guiding services to tours in France, where the profession requires nationality of an EU member state," said the association.
"There are also several other national exemptions for both tour hosts and tour guides. This will create significant operational difficulties for UK travel businesses, forcing these businesses to hire locally, or to seek out dual nationality staff."
Abta’s director of public affairs, Luke Petherbridge, added: "The ability for workers to travel freely within the EU is particularly important for the travel industry and the government must work to ensure that as far as is possible there are mutually beneficial reciprocal arrangements in place to facilitate tourism.
"We need to create the conditions that allow the industry to flourish in the future and enable arrangements to be put in place in the coming months to provide operators with the ability to send UK workers to destination countries in time for the peak seasons in the years ahead."