The sector employs some 348,000 EU nationals and the warning from UKHospitality follows the Government’s recognition of the importance of non-UK nationals to smaller employers.
The trade body has called on the Government to provide a future immigration policy that enables hospitality businesses to continue to employ EU nationals without disruption.
During parliamentary oral questions on Tuesday, Small Business Minister Andrew Griffiths confirmed that non-UK nationals accounted for 7% of total UK employment and reiterated the Government’s appreciation for the contribution they make to small businesses.
Welcoming his comments, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is encouraging to see the Government acknowledging the contribution being made by EU nationals and the support they provide to small businesses in the UK.”
However, she went on to appeal for an assurance that the employing of EU nationals working in hospitality would not be disrupted after the UK leaves the European Union.
“Around 12% of those employed in the UK’s hospitality sector are EU nationals and any future immigration policy implemented following Brexit needs to ensure that employers do not face any barriers to growth or investment,” she said.
UKHospitality is the new trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, established following a merger approved in February between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
It is the voice for more than 700 companies and 65,000 venues in a sector that employs 2.9m making it the third largest private sector employer in the UK.