Seasonal Business in Travel (SBiT) has launched a petition calling for the UK and Europe to allow young people to work for short periods of time without visas.

The organisation, which had campaigned for a second referendum on Brexit and to keep free movement in any deal with the EU, says the jobs of 25,000 UK citizens working abroad in Europe are at risk without a visa exemption scheme in place.

It said 87% of those 25,000 seasonal working are aged between 18 and 34-years-old, and jobs include reps, chalet hosts, nannies, drivers, logistics experts.

SBiT believes the visa exemption could be achieved through an extension of the existing Tier 5 visa regime (or Youth Mobility Scheme) to EU countries.

In its call to action accompanying its petition, SBiT said: “These jobs will be lost if there is a no deal Brexit or we fail to negotiate a way for them to carrying on working temporarily in the EU.”

It added that the staff “return to the UK with all this experience and training” for their future careers.

“With young people being the hardest hit when it comes to job losses as a result of Covid, we think it is high time for our government to stop arguing about fishing quotas or breaking international law and do all they can to protect these 25,000 jobs and all the training and travel opportunities that comes with them,” said SBiT.

“If this number of anticipated job losses, and the lost opportunities for the young, was in a single company – it would be making daily headlines.

“We call on Boris Johnson to please let this wonderful practice continue by agreeing with our European partners that young people should be able to work for short periods across Europe without the need for Visa’s or work permits.”

SBiT director Charles Owen told Travel Weekly: “Travel companies already face immense challenges from Covid-19 and the UK is starting to see rising youth employment related to the pandemic. There is no reason to make both these things worse at the end of the Brexit transition period. This is not about immigration or freedom of movement, this is about the ability for British staff to work a summer or winter season across Europe delivering the holidays that British people value deeply.”

The petition‘s first target is 3,200 signatures, and more than 2,500 have already signed.

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