Abta hails green light for negotiations about youth mobility

Abta and Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBiT) have welcomed news that the European Commission is recommending that negotiations be opened with the UK on a youth mobility agreement.

The organisations have been lobbying in Brussels and Westminster for a deal on youth mobility to make it easier for young Brits to live, work and study in Europe for a temporary period.

Typically, this would be up to two years, without the need to obtain a full visa – and vice-versa for young Europeans to come to the UK.

Abta said the travel industry has been “particularly affected” by post-Brexit restrictions on the mobility of young people.

Research from ABTA and SBiT, published last year, found that the number of UK nationals working in tourism roles across Europe has fallen by 69% since Brexit.

More: Travel sector urges UK and EU to make seasonal staff easier to hire

The decline is related to post-Brexit requirements for UK nationals to obtain visas and work permits to undertake typical tourism roles, such as travel reps or chalet hosts.

Luke Petherbridge, director of public affairs at Abta, said: “We strongly welcome today’s announcement and urge the UK government to be ready to begin negotiations should the Commission’s proposal be accepted by the member states.

“Post-Brexit restrictions on UK-EU labour mobility have undoubtedly been detrimental to the UK travel and tourism industry, whether outbound, inbound or domestic.

“However, the impacts are being most keenly felt by young people, who are now less able to access the roles that have previously proven a springboard for successful careers, as well as providing enriching and rewarding experiences.

“Abta has long argued that youth mobility should be a priority for both sides as we seek to rebuild relations post-Brexit, and we hope that negotiations can now begin quickly.”

Charles Owen, SBiT managing director, added: “A reciprocal youth mobility scheme is a win-win for both Europe and the UK, and in particular for UK travel businesses operating in the EU.

“Momentum is building to get this deal done and we implore the Prime Minister to engage in conversations with the outbound industry to prepare for the upcoming negotiations appropriately. This is a serious economic and cultural issue.”

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