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Scotland Visa urgently needed, as hospitality vacancies increase


UKHospitality Scotland is adding its voice to growing calls for the specific needs of Scotland to be recognised in the UK’s immigration system.

RECRUITMENT challenges continue to affect Scottish hospitality’s ability to grow, as new figures show that vacancies in Scotland increased by 60% in April 2024, compared to January 2024.

The research, conducted by recruitment website, said that chefs, front of house staff and restaurant management were the three most difficult roles to fill in Scotland.

Hospitality businesses in the UK recruit more than three-quarters of their staff from within the UK, but Scottish businesses are finding unique challenges in the numbers of people available to work. The declining birth rate in Scotland and its rural nature are thought to be key factors.

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Leon Thompson, Executive Director of UKHospitality Scotland, said: “Scotland’s hospitality and tourism sectors have been such a huge success story, and have been essential in making Scotland a leading visitor destination globally.

“Like the rest of hospitality in the UK, our businesses have struggled to recruit staff. This ongoing issue is putting at risk hospitality’s ability to serve Scotland and create places where people want to live, work and invest.

“A dedicated Scotland visa which allows sectors facing shortages to recruit essential staff would be a gamechanger for Scottish hospitality. It would also be clear recognition from an incoming government that the needs of business will be reflected in our approach to immigration.

“With such clear support from the business community for a dedicated Scotland visa, I hope all political parties heed the call and commit to its introduction.”

About UKHospitality Scotland:

UKHospitality Scotland is the leading trade body for hospitality in Scotland, representing every corner of the sector. We represent more than 8,000 venues, from pubs, bars and restaurants to hotels, indoor leisure and contract catering.

We work on behalf of a sector at the heart of the everyday economy; contributing £7.6 billion annually to the Scottish economy and employing 290,000 people in the country. Across the UK, hospitality contributes £93 billion annually to the economy, generates £54 billion of tax for the Treasury and employs more than 3.5 million people as the third largest employer in the UK.

Our members benefit from our dedicated campaigning to empower an environment for hospitality to thrive, in addition to expert insight, specialist support helplines and guidance on the key issues facing hospitality businesses.

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