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Hospitality Sector Faces Closure Threat Due to New Government Immigration Rules

Hospitality businesses across the UK are expressing concerns that they may have to shut down due to the UK Government's proposed immigration rules.

The new regulations will increase the minimum salary requirement for foreign nationals working in Britain to £38,700 from £26,200 next year, as part of a strategy to reduce immigration numbers. The government argues that this is necessary to enhance community cohesion and protect public services.

Miguel Sanchez, who moved to the Lake District from Spain 14 years ago and now serves as the general manager of the Windermere Hotel, is worried that these changes will prevent others from having the same opportunities he had.

He noted, "Many of the people that came with me have left. They came for a couple of years. They saved money. They paid their taxes and then they left and went back to their countries. Some of us, we decided to stay and build a life here but with the new rules, it just won't be possible."

At the Windermere Hotel, where 90% of the workforce comes from international backgrounds, Sanchez fears there won't be enough people to fill the numerous hospitality roles in Cumbria. He shared an example of a couple from Sri Lanka who have been vital to the hotel's operations, highlighting how the new rules would make it impossible for similar recruits in the future.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, echoed these sentiments, stating, "Businesses just can't believe what's happened. They are really frustrated by it. I've had one business that's emailed me this morning to say that this could be the difference between them surviving and having to close their doors.

"The bottom line is you've got a super ageing population here in Cumbria, and that just means that there are not enough people within the county to fill the jobs that we've got. It just feels like a really shortsighted decision by the Government that is actually going to affect our economy."

Home Secretary James Cleverly defended the proposed changes in the House of Commons, explaining that they are intended to encourage businesses to employ more British workers.

He stated, "The simple truth of the matter is we have analysed the figures, we know which sectors have brought in the most people. The hospitality sector is an incredibly important sector in the UK, a fantastic employer of local people. That's what we want to see in that sector."


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