YOUNG workers from European countries could be plugging the gap in the hospitality industry in Cumbria, according to the South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

Mr Farron joined Cumbria Tourism to met Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick to discuss the current recruitment issues that the region faces. According to Mr Farron, Mr Jenrick admitted that Poland, France and Spain have all expressed interest in a youth mobility visa. 

A youth mobility visa would allow young people from other countries to work in the UK to boost the labour force. Currently the UK has an agreement with Australia and New Zealand to operate outside their strict points system by providing three-year working visas for those under 35.

The tourism body and Mr Farron have expressed a desire for this to be expanded to other countries, and Mr Farron said that Mr Jenrick confirmed he would look into it. If no movement is made on the issue in the next few weeks, Mr Farron said that he may start writing parliamentary questions. 

READ MORE: Cumbria Tourism aiming to attract tourists from US and China

Cumbria faces unique challenges with recruitment that most other counties do not have.

Dan Visser, the chairman for CT, said: "Cumbria is the biggest visitor destination in the country outside London, with one of the smallest populations.

"It requires more residents of working age to sustain current levels and support the substantial opportunities there are for growth. Without this, there is a risk that the county will become less appealing as a place for businesses to locate and invest.

"The South Lakes, the area that houses the majority of the Lake District National Park, has near full employment."

Across the county, the working population (16-64) will shrink by between 1,500 - 2,000 per annum by 2030 according to CT. 

In a recent survey done by CT, 73 per cent of businesses replied saying that recruitment of staff is a problem, and for over half a significant problem. 

When asked if a visa could be implemented in a way that would not impact local jobs, Mr Visser replied: "Yes, it is what is needed. At the moment, despite significant efforts from the sector and its partners, the reality is that due to a wide range of factors we cannot fill the vacancies we have which is stifling business, productivity and the economy."