Michel Dugher, Chief Executive of the newly formed Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has warned the UK government that its post-Brexit immigration policy could impact the nation’s tourism and night-time economies.
The BGC has become the latest UK trade body to question the Conservative government’s points-based immigration policy, which it aims to sanction from the start of 2021.
This February, UK Home Office Secretary Pritti Patel unveiled the department’s planned policy, which will introduce a cap on low skilled migrants (EU and non-EU) earning below the £23,000 salary threshold.
The UK government has maintained that it will allow policy dispensations, for migrant workers fulfilling job categories which may have face a worker shortfall. However, UK trade bodies criticised the government for unclear terms of its policy.
The Home Office’s policy was criticised by a number of business and health organisations, who argued that companies would be severely restricted in filling vacancies normally occupied by low-skilled migrants.
The BGC has backed the UK’s Federation of Small Businesses, which warned the government that its proposed measures will hit hospitality and tourism businesses hard.
Leading the BGC, Dugher pointed to the fundamental role that casinos play in the UK’s night-time economy, in which incumbents service high-value tourism from China, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Should the government proceed with its controversial points system, Dugher said that casino croupiers will not qualify as having the specific skills, qualifications, salaries.
He added: “Casinos are a hugely important part of our country’s leisure industry attracting thousands of wealthy tourists to the UK from around the world. In order to remain competitive, our casinos need the best croupiers with great arithmetic agility.
“While we are determined to grow the number of UK croupiers through the NVQ in Gaming Operations available at many colleges and through the world-class Nottingham Casino Academy, we need the ability to employ the best from around the world.”