Abta has voiced concern to government over the loss of the Posted Workers Directive due to Brexit.

The directive enabled the posting of around 15,000-20,000 UK workers each year into the EU in normal circumstances pre-Covid.

The travel association has been advised that it would be up to each member state to adopt rules that are more permissive for UK nationals.

Abta believes 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 nine countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, allowing those aged 18-30 with at least £2,530 in savings, to live and work in the other country or up to two years.

Abta wants government to proactively extend the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU countries, claiming “significant support” from the UK inbound tourism industry.

The association has raised issues over the impact on the travel industry of the UK’s future relationships with the EU post-Brexit in a letter to minister of state Lord Frost.

It warns of “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 need to regain access to important health data lost after Brexit.

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

One example for outbound travel affects the ability of UK nationals to provide guiding services to tours in France, where the profession requires nationality of a 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, according to Abta.

Director of public affairs Luke Petherbridge 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.”