Labour shortage

Firms demand temporary visas to ease staff crisis

Wagamama, service, hospitality, restaurant
Hospitality has struggled to find staff (pic: Terry Murden)

Employers are calling for the UK government to issue temporary work visas as a record number of firms struggle to fill vacancies.

Eight in ten firms (79%) said a combination of Covid and a drop in foreign workers meant they were reporting difficulties hiring staff in the last quarter of 2021, a historical high and up from 77% in the previous quarter. 

In construction and hospitality the figure rose to 83% while marketing and media firms at 70% were the least likely to report difficulties, though this remains a high proportion historically for these sectors. 

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, which conducted the survey, said:  “More business investment in home grown talent – and creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce – is key to solving pervasive skills shortages, but this won’t happen overnight. 

“Burdened with high levels of debt, escalating wage and input costs, damaged cashflow and an uncertain economic environment, employers need help to get back on their feet.  

“The government must do all it can to ensure people can access rapid retraining opportunities for in-demand jobs, issue temporary visas for lower skilled jobs – where there is clear evidence of a national shortage – and ensure there are no further upfront costs on business for the remainder of this parliament.”

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