Key words: Migrants, Rights, Language, Vulnerability, Integration, Hospitality.
The aim of this conference paper is to discuss how work in hospitality industry restricts migrant workers prospects to community integration. The particular focus of this paper is on Eastern European migrants and hospitality industry which is one of the vital parts of the tourist experience. As Smith (1994) states, hospitality is one of five principal components of the tourism product, without which tourist activity could not take place.
The hospitality industry is very reliant on particular types of workers which include migrants (Lucas & Mansfield, 2008). Migrants have historically formed a significant part of the tourism industry workforce (Choi et al., 2000; Williams & Hall, 2000). After the European Unionâ€™s enlargement in 2004, a huge group of people from Eastern Europe travelled to UK and also joined the industry (Janta, Ladkin, Brown & Lugosi, 2011). Hospitality sector is the fourth largest employer of migrants, 6% of all migrants that come to UK, work in hospitality industry (People1st.co.uk, 2014).
To be able to determine whether or not working in hospitality influences migrantâ€™s ability to integrate into community, it is necessary to outline what is integration. Integration is a process through which migrants become accepted into the new community, inclusion of migrants in the institutions and creation of relationships in the hostâ€™s society (Bosswick & Heckmann, 2015). When migrants move to a new destination they need to build new social networks to connect with the new community. Whether or not the community is more prone to accept new people in their community varies, nonetheless it is a fact that success of a newcomerâ€™s integration is not merely reliant on the individual, but rather on an assortment of involved players for example: host government, institutions and of course the community (Penninx, 2003).
Going back to the discussion, even though there are numerous negative issues within the hospitality industry including - low status, low pay, part time or seasonal employment and of course the unsocial hours (Walmsley, 2004). For these reason locals are not keen to engage in this type of work, consequently migrants are seen as a solution for the shortages within the sector.
Yet migrants see hospitality work as an entry level job because it is easily accessible, without knowledge of language if compared to other industries (Janta, Ladkin, Brown & Lugosi, 2011). It is also viewed as a plus that the industry gives an opportunity for migrants to develop their language skills and linguistic competence. Furthermore language knowledge is seen as a key advantage that can lead migrants to better work options. Besides that, it definitely helps in adjusting to life in the destination (Brown, 2008), while its absence limits access to information and/or support that can in turn lead to social exclusion (Spencer, Ruhs, Anderson & Rogaly, 2007). Correspondingly if migrantâ€™s language skills continuously doesnâ€™t improve, the surrounding community members could perceive that as a sign that they donâ€™t want to or are unwilling to integrate. However migrantsâ€™ lack of integration may be intensified more by tourism employment then lack of linguistic competence if compared. For example when employment patterns restrict social mobility because of the unsocial working hours, it should be time for socialisation as it is for others and that restricts not only language development, but also community integration, thus the demand cycle is anti-social (Baum, Amoah & Spivack, 1997).
Another example would be when hospitality organisations reinforce the formation of ethnic areas and social closure. Because of the low language skills many migrants enter jobs within the hospitality sector, mainly in back of house positions. Considering that they are placed in back of house positions, how will they be able to gain the positive side of hospitality work: the linguistic development? Learning is a process that involves real experiences, namely engagement in actual activities, reflective observation and active experimentation (Kolb, 1984). Not having those experiences and activities can only intensify the integration problem, as migrants working in enclaves speak their own language, which consequently reinforces ghettoisation (Adler & Adler, 1999).
However hospitality jobs are seen as temporary. It has been argued that â€œfor most employees, the hospitality sector is not a career option, but rather a preparation for a career in the futureâ€ (Riley, Ladkin, & Szivas, 2002) and â€œa mere stopover to something betterâ€ (Wildes, 2007). Main reason being the reluctance of employers to develop human capital, largely due to associated cost (Lucas, 2004).
Even though hospitality work is perceived as a short stop on the way to something better, if the skills of migrants are not developed, how can they find a better carrier alternative? It could be argued that employers do it on purpose as they rely on the migrant workforce and the reluctance of employers to develop human capital, is because there is no need for spending money on them, as new migrant workers will come and take their place.
Work in hospitality industry creates imbalance between work and life (Karatepe & Uludog, 2007; Wong & Ko, 2009), besides holding migrants from developing language capabilities and creating social networks, it creates an environment that keeps migrant workers from integrating within the surrounding community.
Choi, J., Woods, R. H., & Murrmann, S. K. (2000). International labor markets and the migration of labor forces as an alternative solution for labor shortages in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 12(1), 61â€“66.
Janta, H., Brown, L., Lugosi, P. and Ladkin, A. (2011) Migrant relationships and tourism employment. Annals of Tourism research Vol. 38 (4)
Lucas, R., & Mansfield, S. (2008). Staff shortages and immigration in the hospitality sector. [online] Available from: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/workingwithus/mac/23 9769/lucasandmansfield2008 (Accessed on: 19.04.2015)