Cumbria Tourism is expressing serious concerns about the Government’s proposed new UK points-based immigration system, which it says fails to recognise the county’s unique recruitment challenges – and could cause real damage to its £3billion tourism industry.
The proposed post-Brexit immigration system unveiled today, 19 February 2020, means there would be no route for lower-skilled workers to come to the UK from the end of this year.
However, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation says this is a major blow for Cumbria, where there is already a labour shortage and European workers are needed to fill job vacancies in tourism and hospitality.
President of Cumbria Tourism, Eric Robson, comments, “The issue of future restrictions has been repeatedly highlighted by businesses and organisations including Cumbria Tourism, but disappointingly, these proposals fail to recognise the specific needs of our visitor economy.
“Cumbria’s population is less than half a million – and ageing fast – which means there is a limit on the number of eligible working age people available locally. Therefore, we require a range of workers to sustain tourism related- businesses, maintain vibrant communities and secure future prosperity for all sectors.
“From the start, we have been calling for ‘special case’ recognition for rural areas like Cumbria which face unique recruitment challenges. European workers are an important asset and we’re calling on the Government to rethink this flawed policy, which will severely restrict our industry’s ability to attract and retain the staff they need to not only to fill job roles but also to deliver world class customer service.
“Cumbria Tourism will be speaking to organisations nationally such as UKinbound, VisitBritain and the Tourism Alliance, as well as calling directly on our own MPs and wider government, to urgently address this issue.”