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ABTA raises post-Brexit labour concerns with government

ABTA has written to Lord Frost, highlighting the needs of the travel industry in the future relationships with the European Union, post Brexit.

Minister of state Frost is currently negotiating with European officials over the final settlement.

The letter raises the very serious challenges relating to labour mobility owing to restrictions on temporary entry of tourism workers across the EU and continued access to essential health data and the pressing need to regain access to important health data lost after Brexit.

One of the main concerns of the travel industry is the loss the Posted Workers Directive, which, in normal circumstances pre-Covid-19, enabled the posting of around 15,000-20,000 UK workers each year into the EU.

ABTA said had been advised that it would be up to each member state to adopt rules that are more permissive for UK nationals.

However, the association is keen to highlight that a partial solution to the problem can be found by adapting an existing part of the UK immigration system.

The UK already operates a reciprocal Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier 5 visas) covering several countries and ABTA wants government to proactively extend the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU countries.


There is also significant support amongst the UK’s inbound tourism industry for an extension of the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Within UK-EU Agreement there are also several individual reservations which restrict the rights of UK nationals to perform certain roles in different member states.

One important example for outbound travel affects the ability of UK nationals to provide guiding services to tours in France, where the profession requires nationality of an EU member state.

There are also several other national exemptions for both tour hosts and tour guides.

This will create significant operational difficulties for UK travel businesses, forcing these businesses to hire locally, or to seek out dual nationality staff.

Luke Petherbridge ABTA director of public affairs, said: “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.

“We need to create the conditions that allow the industry to flourish in the future and enable arrangements to be put in place in the coming months to provide operators with the ability to send UK workers to destination countries in time for the peak seasons in the years ahead.”