The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), a trade association for the gambling industry has cautioned the UK government that its upcoming points-based immigration system may have an adverse economic impact on the casino industry. While the BGC is not actively lobbying against the new system, they are calling on the government for an exemption for casino employees.
According to the BGC, the majority of the UK’s casino, recreation, and tourism economy relies heavily on the presence of foreign workers. For instance, 70% of the UK’s croupiers are foreign workers. The BGC fears that many casino workers would be denied visas under the new immigration policy.
The UK’s immigration rules are set to change at the end of the transition period following the country’s exit from the European Union: January 1, 2021. The new rules will impose a set of criteria to procure working visas.
Under the new points-based system, foreign-born individuals will need 70 points to qualify for a visa. If a foreign-born individual has a standing job offer from an approved UK employer, classified at a certain skill level, and is fluent in English, they will receive 50 points.
To meet the 70 point requirement, foreign workers have to prove that they earn a high income, have high qualifications, such as a graduate degree, or a job offer from an underserved industry in the UK.
The BGC claimed that foreign-born croupiers would be unable to meet this requirement. UK casinos will therefore have to rely on local croupiers, which the BGC warned could upset the balance of an already successful casino industry.
Foreign Workers Key to UK Casinos’ Success
According to the BGC, casinos often need foreign-born workers because a key component of their business is catering to foreign customers from high-value markets, such as the Middle East and China. So these highly skilled croupiers are necessary, whatever their nationality, to ensure that games are smoothly run. Additionally, croupiers from these customers’ home countries can help foreign customers feel more at ease as they speak the language and know their culture.
The UK’s casino industry has a workforce of around 14,000 direct employees, and 4,000 supporting jobs. Over £300 million every year is contributed by the industry in tax revenues. The BGC has stated that while they are currently attempting to grow the number of local croupiers in the UK, there is still a long way to go. The casino industry must be allowed to tap into the best available card-dealing talent, the BGC argued, to keep the UK’s casino industry profitable for all.