The news follows a recent survey which showed that around one in three hospitality venues do not have enough staff to cope with re-opening post-lockdown, including chefs and a whole host of other roles.
In response to this, the mayor has called on ministers to review the “damaging” changes to visa rules that have affected the sector since last year, while pledging to use his own skills academy programme to train up more Londoners to take up jobs in the hospitality sector.
Before the pandemic, the hospitality sector employed nearly 3.2 million people UK-wide, with nearly 18% of jobs based in London, providing work for 568,000 Londoners.
However, many pubs, restaurants and other venues were hit with the “double whammy” of changes to immigration rules post-Brexit, with many workers deciding to return to their country of origin in Europe as a result of the pandemic.
The mayor is now backing calls from the hospitality industry for a “coronavirus recovery visa” to help bring foreign workers back quickly after lockdown and support the economic recovery.
Sadiq Khan said: “Getting our world-leading hospitality industry back on its feet will be vital for London, but also the UK’s economic recovery as we emerge from lockdown.
“That’s why I’m urging ministers to review their damaging changes to visa rules and give cities like London the devolved powers to fill vacancies in sectors where there are such acute shortages.”
He added: “But I’m also going further than that. In the longer term I want more Londoners trained up in the skills they need to be leading figures in our hospitality industry.
“Through my skills academies programme I will be supporting more Londoners to get the training and skills they need to have successful careers in the industry.”