It would be “catastrophic” for some industries, say employers.
According to The Guardian, the leaked Home Office document proposes offering EU migrants residency for a maximum of only two years to drive down numbers. Those in “high-skilled occupations” will be granted permits to work for a longer period of three to five years.
Corporate chiefs and industry leaders in sectors including housebuilding, aerospace, farming and hotels said the tighter controls could lead to labour shortages and damage the economy.
Some 75% of waiters and 25% of chefs working in the UK come from other EU nations. “If these proposals are implemented it could be catastrophic for the UK hospitality industry,” said Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association.
The National Farmers’ Union said an abrupt drop in the number of EU workers able to work in the UK would cause “massive disruption to the entire food supply chain”. Farming produces the raw ingredients for the UK food and drink sector, worth £109bn and employing 3.8 million people.
Tim Martin, the founder of the Wetherspoons pub chain and a prominent supporter of Brexit, said immigration was healthy for the economy. He draws about 5% of his 35,000-strong workforce from EU nationals, although he said tighter controls similar to Australian or US rules would be preferable. “The EU method of immigration and migration was unsustainable and was undemocratic, even though you have definitely benefited from the eastern Europeans, in particular, who have come over here in the last decade or so,” he added.
To read more, click here.
Do you know more about this story? Contact us anonymously through this link.