UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “A fall in the number of EU migrants is seriously worrying for hospitality employers. We need workers from the EU to bolster our home-grown workforces and keep pace with growth, particularly with unemployment so low.
“This staffing shortfall will only become more acute if the Government pushes ahead with a plan to exclude many potential hospitality workers as part of its future immigration policy. If businesses do not have access to the workforce, how are they expected to hire people, grow their businesses and invest?
“Should the tier 2 test on skills and salary be applied to all post-Brexit EU migrants, as currently proposed, we estimate that 80-90% of potential hospitality jobs would be excluded.
“Ultimately, customers are going to feel the brunt of this when businesses have no choice but to pass on higher costs and closures mean a reduction in choice and convenience. The Government needs to change tack now, and recognise this issue in its forthcoming White Paper or we will see high streets continue to be undermined and businesses will fail.”