Hospitality leaders warn of “staffing crisis” without immigration reform

hospitality staffing letter
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More than 65 hospitality leaders have called on the Government to revise settlement schemes and the highly skilled migrants list in order to prevent the sector “imploding” due to staff shortages caused by Brexit and Covid-19.


In a letter published in the Financial Times on 27 September, the CEOs of companies such as Pret a Manger, Soho House, Ottolenghi, The Ritz Club, The Savoy and the Hippodrome Casino called on the Prime Minister to address a “staffing crisis.”

“Many roles within hospitality need to be included on the skills shortage list,” states the letter. “This is critical in order to save the industry under Brexit rules.

“A huge number of individuals have left the industry and many operators simply cannot stay afloat with reduced staffing levels. Post-Covid customer demand is increasing, but now we don’t have the necessary trained staff.”

Noting that, prior to the pandemic, hospitality was the third-largest industry in the private sector, contributing £133.5bn to national GDP and employing over 3.2 million people, the letter urged the Home Office to reform its immigration procedure.

“Allowing the sector to recruit the staff it needs will result in higher turnover, more jobs and the resultant taxes returning to pre-pandemic levels more quickly.”

“Hospitality is not a low-pay sector, and these are skilled jobs paying skilled wages. The problem is not that we cannot compete with other sectors on pay, but that the staff are not there in the numbers required.”

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