Leaving the EU: Seasonal Workers

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th June 2018.

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Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay 12:00 am, 4th June 2018

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that the hospitality and tourism sector can continue to access seasonal workers from the EEA after the UK leaves the EU.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

The Government are considering a range of options for the future immigration system. We will make decisions based on evidence and engagement. We have asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on the economic and social impact of the UK’s exit from the EU and on how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.

Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay

The tourism and hospitality sector’s No. 1 concern is post-Brexit access to the labour force. Many seasonal workers will not qualify for settled status under the current framework because of the seasonal nature of their work. Will the Minister consider some sort of seasonal workers scheme for the hospitality sector, along the same lines as a seasonal agricultural workers scheme?

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

I recognise the importance of tourism in my hon. Friend’s constituency and his work in the all-party group on the visitor economy. Seasonal workers make an important contribution to the tourism and hospitality sector, and it is a sector that we wish to see thrive. Any EU citizen who is currently in the UK will be able to benefit from the settlement scheme that we are establishing. For the longer term, we have asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise us; I am sure that it will be mindful of my hon. Friend’s points.

Photo of Martin Whitfield Martin Whitfield Labour, East Lothian

Along with the hospitality industry, the agricultural industry is crying out for help on migrant workers. Will the Government confirm that they will reinstate the seasonal agricultural workers scheme and allow it to reflect the needs in different areas, such as my county of East Lothian?

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

The hon. Gentleman has identified farming and my hon. Friend Steve Double asked about tourism, but a number of other sectors are affected, including fisheries, which has been raised with me recently. It is crucial that we take the advice of the Migration Advisory Committee and that we have evidence-based policy making. I reassure the hon. Gentleman and other Members that I am looking into this issue very closely indeed.