UK Post-Brexit Immigration Policy Will Hurt Casino Sector, Says Industry

Posted on: March 3, 2020, 03:30h. 

Last updated on: March 3, 2020, 04:17h.

Planned UK immigration laws will damage the casino sector and other parts of the UK economy. That’s the word from gambling industry trade association the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which called on the government to exempt casino workers from a new, stricter set of rules which are due to come into effect after the UK’s full departure from the European Union next year.

UK casinos like London’s Hippodrome (pictured) rely on immigrants for 70 percent of their workforce. (Image: Hippodrome)

Under the proposed “points system,” working visa applicants will be awarded points based on meeting a set of criteria that includes skills, qualifications, and the ability to speak English.

But according to the BGC, many of the foreign workers that account for 70 percent of casino staff in the UK would not meet the new standards to qualify to work.

Applicants will have to score a tally of 70 points under the government’s proposed system. Having a job offer from an “approved employer” at an “appropriate skill level” will gain an applicant 50 points right off the bat. But it’s somewhat tougher to push the score up to 70.

A PhD, for example, will only get you an extra ten points, although it’s double that if your doctorate is in a STEM subject (science, technology, engineering, or math).

Croupiers Don’t Make the Grade

“Croupiers will not qualify as having the specific skills, qualifications, salaries, or professions,” the BGC warned, adding that “using arbitrary skills or salary requirements will damage highly successful parts of the UK economy.”

“Casinos are a hugely important part of our country’s leisure industry, attracting thousands of wealthy tourists to the UK from around the world,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher in a statement. “In order to remain competitive, our casinos need the best croupiers with great arithmetic agility.

“While we are determined to grow the number of UK croupiers through the NVQ (a vocational qualification) in Gaming Operations available at many colleges and through the world class Nottingham Casino Academy, we need the ability to employ the best from around the world.”

The BGC notes that the government has announced exemptions for certain workers and skills and hopes casino workers will be added to the list.

‘Brightest and Best’

“Taking back control” of immigration was a key message of the campaign to leave the EU, which was championed by now-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The government wants to deliver on its promise and replace the free cross-border movement of the EU with a tougher system that “attracts and welcomes the brightest and the best.”

Those are the words of Home Secretary Priti Patel, who was forced to admit last month that her own Indian immigrant parents would not have qualified to live and work in the UK under the new system.

In the US, the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy in 2017 was opposed by gaming companies, who also derive much of their workforce from immigrant populations, particularly in Nevada.

DACA grants those brought to America illegally as children the temporary right to live, study, and work legally in the US. Its cancellation is currently on hold, pending a decision by the US Supreme Court.