Pro-Brexit Wetherspoons boss calls for more EU migrants amid staff shortages

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Watch: Brexit-supporting Wetherspoons boss calls for more EU migration

The pro-Brexit boss of JD Wetherspoons has urged the government to increase migration from the European Union to tackle staff shortages at pubs and restaurants.

Tim Martin called for Boris Johnson to introduce a visa system for EU workers to help the hospitality sector in the struggling post-lockdown labour market.

An ardent Leave supporter, Mr Martin campaigned for a hard Brexit including exiting the single market and the end of the freedom of movement.

Now he says the government should consider a new “reasonably liberal” visa scheme to tempt foreign workers into moving to the UK.

Countries located closer to the UK could have preferential treatment, according to his “proposal.”

After being hit hard in the pandemic, some pub and restaurant owners say they are now being forced to close during the lunchtime rush because they do not have enough staff.

<p>JD Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin</p> (REUTERS)

JD Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin

(REUTERS)

“The UK has a low birth rate,” Mr Martin told The Daily Telegraph.

“A reasonably liberal immigration system controlled by those we have elected, as distinct from the EU system, would be a plus for the economy and the country.”

The Arch-Brexiter referred to America, Australia and Singapore as countries that have benefited from this approach “for many decades.”

“Immigration combined with democracy works,” he added.

Job adverts for pubs, bars and restaurants have rocketed by 46 per cent since people were allowed to drink and dine inside from May 17 according to RSM consulting firm.

Many overseas workers have returned home during the pandemic.

Businesses looking to boost their workforce and hire from the EU might find it easier if a visa system were in place.

Post-Brexit rules mean it can be more challenging for workers to settle in the UK at present.

Watch: What could scrapping EU labour rights mean for UK workers?

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