With Brexit potentially a mere month away, there is still no clear indication from the government on how a deal will be executed and what it will mean for British people and businesses. However, one thing is for sure: EU nationals in the months and years ahead will be taking up fewer of the job vacancies in hospitality.

So far, the government have suggested a set of two key rules in place for EU nationals who want to work in the UK hospitality industry.

  1. EU nationals will need to have secured a job prior to entering the UK with a minimum salary level of £30,000 in order to stay in the UK for more than twelve months.
  2. EU nationals that want to enter the UK and work that have not secured a job with a minimum salary level of £30,000 can only apply to stay and work for twelve months. They will then be required to leave after 12 months, and unable to re-apply for entry back into the UK for a further 12 months.

These restrictions will obviously cause a lot of issues for many businesses but especially the hospitality industry, which is currently incredibly reliant on EU nationals within its workforce. With the industry employing close to three million people, 24% of which are EU nationals, the impact on the industry is expected to be immense. London businesses are expected to be hit the hardest, with 75% of waiters and waitresses in the capital being EU nationals.

Findings from a recent online YouGov survey of more than 1,000 GB hospitality employees show that the UK hospitality sector has a staff retention rate of 70%, which is well below the national average of 85% across all industries. Therefore, within the next twelve months 30% of EU nationals will need replacing equaling out to between 90 – 210 thousand people.

The Office for National Statistics in its most recent January 2019 report on employment in the UK shows that employment is at its highest since comparable records began in 1971 while unemployment is at its lowest since 1975. Job vacancies are also at an all-time high giving the lowest number of job seekers more options than ever before.

The number of higher education students who enrolled in Hospitality related courses has remained relatively constant over the past five years with the volume of people entering into the workplace hospitality from education has also remained relatively constant over the past five years.

However, despite these figures, more will need to be done once Britain has entered Brexit to help fill the void of the EU nationals no longer eligible to work here.