Published: 09:06, 01 July 2021
| Updated: 09:08, 01 July 2021
The local branch of the Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the introduction today of the government's graduate visa scheme saying it will help ease the jobs crisis in the hospitality sector.
First announced in March, the scheme will allow international students who have graduated to work in the country after their studies for a maximum of two years - of three for doctoral students.
There are no skill or salary thresholds for the the visa but students must have completed an eligible course at higher education provider and have a "track record of compliance" with the government's immigration requirements.
Kent and Medway FSB policy lead Deborah Turner said: “Kent’s small businesses, especially those in hospitality and care, have had real problems hiring and maintaining staff.
"Last year, even at the height of the pandemic, the Kent and Medway Employment Plan found 48,000 jobs in Kent unfilled, mostly in these sectors.
“This scheme will help many small businesses struggling to hire staff and give certainty to those small businesses already employing international graduate students to help them plan for the future.”
It comes after an increasing number of hospitality providers say they are struggling to fill vacancies after the lockdown was lifted - an issue caused by staff getting jobs elsewhere and Brexit which saw many of the normal pool of workers in the sector leave the UK.
Some have even been forced to close because of the issue.
UK Hospitality, the industry's trade body, has called on the government to help ease the current staffing crisis which, it says, has left 200,000 vacancies nationwide.