Abta has warned the government’s decision to not give visas to low-skilled workers from the EU post-Brexit will have a “very damaging effect on businesses”.

Under new immigration laws, which were unveiled on Wednesday, low-skilled workers from the EU will be treated the same as non-EU workers.

The government has told employers to “move away” from relying on “cheap labour” from Europe and invest in retaining staff and developing automation technology after December 31.


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But Abta said the UK will need to establish new reciprocal arrangements to replace the benefits of the EU Posted Workers Directive, which it says sustains 15,000 UK-based jobs.

In a statement, Abta said: “Tourism generates £146 billion in revenue within the UK and supports more than 3 million jobs across the country, it is one of the UK’s largest industries and a major success story.

“It is vital that the industry continues to have access to the talent it needs. The travel and tourism industry is committed to investing in skills and training, but with record low unemployment rates, immigration policy also has an important role to play.

“The lack of a temporary regime will not give businesses sufficient time to transition to new arrangements and will likely have a very damaging effect on businesses that are reliant on EU workers.

“We hope the government will engage with and listen to businesses to ensure the right policies are in place for our industry to continue to succeed.”