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Employment and trainingPost-16

Catch22 responds to UK immigration plans

A waitress takes the order of a woman working on her laptop in a coffee shop.

“Significant changes” are needed for vocational training and apprenticeships if key industries are to remain competitive under new immigration rules.

The Government has released plans to introduce a points-based immigration system post-Brexit. Points would be awarded for qualifications awarded, for working in a sector with shortages, and for receiving a salary offer above the threshold. The changes are likely to impact businesses that are reliant on overseas citizens, both EU and non-EU.

In response, Catch22’s Chief Development Officer Mat Ilic said:

“Today’s announcement will hit certain industries hard. Hospitality is one of those industries – with nearly 11% of all vacancies in ‘accommodation and food service activities’ – more than any other industry in the UK.

“It’s an industry that relies heavily on employees from the EU, who compromise up to 24% of the existing UK hospitality sector workforce.

“A large number of these employees will not be eligible for visas under the new system. Take chefs for example, where there is a skills shortage and roles are difficult to fill as they need specific training and experience. 50% of chefs in the UK are born abroad, rising to 85% for chefs in London. How are we going to fill these vacancies?

“There will have to be significant changes in how vocational training and apprenticeships are profiled and delivered in these key sectors if there is any chance of filling the gaps. With more than half of UK businesses not spending their Apprenticeship Levy funds, there is significant untapped potential that will need to be realised to if we’re to create a post-Brexit workforce that will serve the needs of the country.”