Fishermen flag up need for overseas workers

27 Dec 2016 | Posted by Carl Thomas
The Scottish fishing industry is the latest sector to flag up its need for migrant workers if it is to continue operating at its current levels.
Skippers on the west coast of Scotland have been recruiting staff from the Philippines, who require a UK visa to work in Britain, because they have been unable to find local people who want to do the job.
The issue has now been taken to Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill, following lobbying by Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O'Hara and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie.
Fishing leaders have also met with the minister to present their case. They are concerned because there have been a number of cases where the Filipino staff they rely on have struggled to obtain work permits to come to Scotland.
MP Mr McNeil said: "The west coast is in need of fishing crews and the UK Government rather than blocking the economy must help it in line with the wishes of Scotland, the islands and fishing communities."
At the meeting, Mr Goodwill agreed to look at reintroducing a scheme which previously allowed fishermen from outside the European Union to come to Scotland to work.
Mr McNeil told the BBC: "However, this problem does still remain although there seems to be increased willingness to address this issue."
Fishing is one of a number of areas that have been flagged up as facing staff shortages or having difficulties recruiting British people. The Indian restaurant industry has also complained about problems bringing in skilled chefs from Asia, and has reported a number of business closures.
Nursing is also widely staffed by people from overseas. It is on a list of protected professions where migrant workers are continuing to be welcomed to fill positions.