As UK hospitality starts to panic over how it will find workers after Brexit, could a ‘barista visa’ become the solution?
Over 508,000 EU nationals work in retail, wholesale, hotels and restaurants in the UK. Migrant workers make up 14% of the hospitality industry’s workforce. But once Britain leave the EU, many migrant workers may no longer be able to work here.
What is a barista visa?
The idea behind the barista visa is that after Brexit, EU workers can come to work here for up to two years. However, they won’t qualify for free housing and if they lose their job, they cannot claim UK unemployed benefits. The British Hospitality Association has welcomed the idea, after warning that without a steady stream of migrant workers, restaurants will shut down.
EU workers in the UK
It’s not just hospitality businesses concerned about finding workers post-Brexit. Non-UK nationals have proven essential for the public sector too. About 701,000 work in health sectors, education and public administration, according to the Office for National Statistics. The figures reveal that migrant workers are also essential for business and financial services, making up 12% of the workforce. Overall, Britain has 3.4 million migrant workers. EU citizens account for 2.2 million and workers from outside Europe make up 1.2 million.
With the barista vista scheme still under discussion, no one quite knows when, or indeed if, it will begin. But there’s no doubt that many industries will hope that it becomes the answer to avoiding the evitable labour shortages after Brexit.