//ABTA spells out reaction to immigration proposals

ABTA spells out reaction to immigration proposals

Association publishes report and holds event on latest Brexit wranglings

The government needs to liaise with the travel industry over immigration laws to protect the £145 billion that the sector generates as an economic contribution, the boss of ABTA has said. 

The association last night published a report and held an event dedicated to spelling out the issues, what changes need to be made and factors that need to be considered so the travel industry can stay prosperous in the face of immigration changes proposed by the government.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s chief executive, highlighted that the industry makes an economic contribution of £145 billion every year and sustains more than 1.52 million jobs.

“Too often in the immigration debate we hear criticism that businesses are overly focused on attracting migrant workers, and not sufficiently so on investment in skills and training at home. For the travel and tourism industry this is untrue,” he said.

“Travel and tourism businesses are investing significantly in skills development, both in terms of nurturing domestic talent, and upskilling the existing workforce.”

Tanzer went on to say that it was essential that legislation like the Posted Workers Directive was maintained, with 15,000 UK workers benefiting from it every year. Many of those go on to lifelong careers in the travel industry.

If the changes went ahead as they currently stand, it would potentially affect the mobility of labour for UK workers posted abroad and the ability for UK travel businesses to fill vacancies. 

During the event, industry leaders urged the government to reconsider its definition of a ‘low skilled worker’. While the threshold for low skilled workers has been reduced from a salary of £30,000 to £25,600, it is still prohibitive for travel businesses.

Charles Owen, the managing director of Seasonal Business in Travel (SbiT), added that the travel industry needs to be punchier.

“I often turn on Radio 4 and will hear someone from the fishing industry,” he said. “The fishing industry hires 12,000 people and is worth about £1 billion. We need to be louder.”

“This is not about immigration,” he said. “It’s about temporary posting.”

Read the full report here: www.abta.com/securingthefuture

Sam Ballard is a director and co-founder of Waterfront Publishing, creator of ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Solus and more.