The Telegraph has reported the RYA’s lobbying efforts to engage with Ministers and officials to minimise any adverse impact on, or unintended consequences for, the eligibility of UK citizens holding RYA qualifications to work in EU member states.
The article, written by James Rothwell, Brexit Correspondent, and Asa Bennett, clearly outlines the joint position of the RYA and the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.
The article says: “For decades, British youngsters have whiled away their summer holidays on the slopes of the Alps and the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean, plying their trade as ski instructors and yachtmasters.
“But snowsport and yachting associations have warned their seasonal fun could be put in jeopardy by Brexit, as they called on Theresa May to protect free access to seasonal work in Europe.
“In a joint letter to the government seen by the Telegraph, the RYA and BASI said they feared that ‘many jobs previously held by UK personnel would instead be filled by foreign nationals’ after Brexit.
“The letter urged Theresa May to grant ski and yachting instructors the right to work in Europe without a visa and with ‘as little administrative burden as possible.’
“British instructors’ qualifications should continue to be recognised by EU member states, it added.”
Mrs. May has pledged to end free movement after Brexit, which means that Britons will no longer have the automatic right to live and work in EU member states.
“Thousands of our members currently travel to the EU on a seasonal basis every year to work in training centres and ski schools, generating substantial value to local economies and providing an income to a significant number of skilled UK workers,” said RYA and BASI chief executives Sarah Treseder and Andrew Lockerbie.
Around 500 BASI ski instructors live in Europe permanently, with a further 1,500 heading over to work during the winter season. The RYA represents 45,000 qualified instructors and commercially-endorsed certificate of competence holders, with up to 7,000 of these working in the EU each year.
The request was welcomed by senior Conservative MPs, such as former international trade minister Mark Garnier. He said the offer could be reciprocated with visa-free travel for EU workers in seasonal industries key to the British economy, such as agriculture.
“For as long as I can remember, British holidaymakers have been welcomed by British chalet girls, sailing instructors, resort reps and a whole host of other jobs where British people take advantage of opportunities in the EU – in exactly the same way that EU citizens take advantage of similar opportunities in the UK,” he said.
Mr. Garnier, who is also the commodore of the House of Commons Yacht Club, added: “Given the UK demand for seasonal workers, and the request from the RYA and BASI, I would hope that these requests would be an easy win for our negotiators.”
Craig Mackinlay, a pro-Brexit MP, added: “As a fellow yachtsman and RYA member, but poor skier following a cruciate damaging accident years ago, I welcome the RYA and BASI’s call for a seasonal workers’ scheme. I shall ensure the proposal receives the very careful consideration of the government.”
The government is yet to unveil its new immigration system, though Mrs. May has already ruled out the Australian-style points system pushed by the Leave campaign.
Brexit secretary David Davis has conceded that securing mutual recognition of qualifications after Brexit was proving to be a difficult issue.
Progress so far
The RYA has developed strong links with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Exiting the European Union, as well as other relevant departments and agencies, to ensure that its position is taken into account by policy-makers.
As the government has recognised, the recreational boating sector already makes a significant contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of communities up and down the country.
In the coming months, the RYA will continue its work to ensure that the final Brexit deal reflects the needs and priorities of the recreational boating community.