UKHospitality has reacted with “considerable alarm” at the news that net EU migration has fallen to 100,000.
According to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), migration to the UK from the EU reached its lowest point in four years. This figure is still higher than the government’s aim to cut overall net migration down to the tens of thousands.
A report by KPMG suggested a quarter of the UK’s hospitality workforce – or three million people – was made up of EU nationals. This included 75% of waiting staff, 37% of housekeepers and 25% of chefs.
UKHospitality described the drop in immigrant numbers as a “possible disaster” for the hospitality sector which “heavily relies” on EU migrants to fill vacancies.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Yesterday’s figures are an alarming portent of possible disaster for the hospitality sector. Although net migration from the EU still stands at 100,000, this represents a significant fall on the previous year.
“Particularly distressful is news that this squeeze is being felt most acutely in lower-skilled labour which makes up the bulk of the workforce. The hospitality sector relies heavily on EU migrants to fill many of its vacancies and should this trend continue, businesses are likely to struggle to keep up with projected growth.”