Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, the industry trade body, said: “The ONS figures back up research from the BHA which show that hospitality and tourism, the fourth largest industry in the UK employing as a whole 4.5 million people, has up to 24 per cent of its workforce from the EU. Our report into labour migration, produced by KPMG and based on a survey of our members, makes it clear that any major cut in the number of EU workers would create a recruitment crisis. It also says that 75 per cent of waiters and waitresses, 25 per cent of chefs and 37 per cent of housekeeping staff are from the EU.
“We want to avoid there being any cliff edge but the government must be aware that in the medium to long term we will still need considerable numbers of EU workers, who have contributed so much to our industry and the UK economy in general. Without future EU migration the hospitality sector, excluding tourism, needs upwards of 60,000 workers per year in addition to the ongoing recruitment of 200,000 workers required to replace churn and to power growth.
“The BHA has submitted a 10 year strategy to Number 10 Downing Street because we are aware of our responsibility to encourage more UK nationals to see the career opportunities available in hospitality and tourism. We do need the government to play their part too, by recognising our employment needs and recognising how important this industry is to the country.”