As many as 196,000 international workers have left the UK hospitality sector since the pandemic.

This is despite post-Brexit visa schemes introduced by the government, shows a new report from specialist hospitality hiring partner,

As the industry struggles with new and historic labour shortages, a report last year showed how some 90,000 EU workers had left the sector. 

This latest report shows the proportion of European workers has continued to shrink and many as 120,000 have now left the UK’s hospitality sector. 

More than 70,000 workers from other international countries have also dropped out of the workforce.

Whilst positive changes have been recently made by the Government to allow more international workers to come to the UK, such as making Chefs eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa, the report shows these schemes are not having a strong enough impact. 


International hires’s report has found that while 61 percent of hospitality employers are registered to hire internationally, immigration policies are deterring 89 percent from hiring overseas.

Barriers include lack of Visa flexibility or availability (42%), unclear and changing guidelines from the government (38%) and associated costs such as Visas (34%). 

Over a quarter (27%) of hospitality employers are not confident that they would know how to sponsor an international worker. 

With barriers stopping businesses from hiring aboard and the report showing that two in five (43%) hospitality businesses have had to reduce operations as a result of the staffing crisis, there is a growing need for employers to look closer to home to fill roles and some green shoots have started to emerge.  

Indeed, the report shows early signs of UK workers being inspired to join the sector, with 25 percent of hospitality businesses seeing an increase in local candidates. 

As the make-up of the industry changes post pandemic and post Brexit, the proportion of UK homegrown talent in the sector has increased. 

Kathy Dyball, Director at comments: “The hospitality sector is experiencing a sustained and severe labour crisis which is impacting its ability to thrive and limiting its potential contribution to the UK economy. Making chefs eligible for Skilled Worker status was good start, however our report suggests this is yet to have a significant impact and highlights that the immigration system is unclear, with employers facing barriers when it comes to hiring overseas. However, it’s great to see an increase in homegrown talent entering the sector, and it’s now vital to continue to drive this by tapping into different talent pools throughout the UK.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.