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Worries Continue for Brits Wanting to Work in Alps After Brexit

The Association of British Travel Agents has stepped up its campaign to try to allow labour mobility. It says there is a possible solution to the problem.

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This month ABTA has written to Lord Frost, Minister of State, raising the very serious challenges relating to labour mobility owing to restrictions on temporary entry of tourism workers across the EU.

ABTA highlights the loss of the ‘Posted Workers Directive’ as a major concern.

It enabled 15,000-20,000 of UK nationals, many young people doing a ski season, to work in the winter in the EU.

That has now gone but individual countries can make their own rules.

ABTA claims a partial solution might be adapting an existing part of the UK immigration system.

The UK currently has a reciprocal Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier 5 visas) that covers several countries and ABTA wants this extended to EU countries.

“The ability for workers to travel freely within the EU is particularly important for the travel industry and the Government must work to ensure that as far as is possible there are mutually beneficial reciprocal arrangements in place to facilitate tourism,” said the ABTA Director of Public Affairs, Luke Petherbridge.

“We need to create the conditions that allow the industry to flourish in the future.”

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Ski chalet staff can still go from the UK to the EU with “posted worker” status under the Brexit deal, but a work permit is needed and there are conditions around that.

Plus, there are higher employment costs and charges.

EU posted worker arrangements allow people employed by a UK firm, and paying UK tax and national insurance, to be sent to work in the EU countries on secondment to a branch of the same company or to a French firm that then bills the UK firm for their work.

It had been feared that the potential end of the system for British workers could cause severe disruption to thousands of jobs in sectors such as ski chalet work.

The Brexit deal means countries can choose whether or not to allow UK firms to “post” workers, and international social security body, Cleiss, has confirmed that this is the case in France.

See more on ConnexionFrance.com

However, there are still major practical difficulties.

“Every EU nation has informed the Commission now it would like to carry on with the social security coordination that comes from posting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get around the issue of having to get a work permit. That is still the big issue,” said Charles Owen,  spokesman for major UK business organisation Seasonal Business in Travel, SBIT.

“If you want to second a worker, they will need a permit and it could take four to six months, with no certainty at the end of it.

“If Ski World wants to recruit a British worker to work in Méribel, for example, they would have to prove there is no French worker to do it by advertising it for eight weeks at Pôle Emploi, then apply for a work permit for the worker, taking a few months, and then the worker would have to get a visa from the French embassy.

“We have been lobbying hard over this, but it was a chance for us to point out that it is not just about social security. We will carry on lobbying about the work permits.”

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