Hotels chief warns over Brexit threat to workers

Luxury hotel group Hyatt has warned that 'life could become very difficult' for the UK hospitality industry after Brexit if access to foreign workers is restricted.

The hospitality trade needs some 62,000 workers from the EU each year. Picture: Robert Perry

Peter Fulton, the firm’s Europe chief, urged the UK government to ensure the sector can still draw on a depth of overseas talent, as the number of British hotel and restaurant workers was “relatively small”.

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“I think the labour situation in the case of Brexit needs to be studied very carefully,” said Fulton. “I think life could become very difficult for the industry if the whole situation is not looked at.”

His comments come after sandwich chain Pret A Manger said it was “reaching” out to British applicants in a bid to plug a looming recruitment gap.

The British Hospitality Association says the UK sector needs about 62,000 EU migrants every year. However, the government is planning a “barista visa” allowing young European citizens to continue work in the UK’s coffee shops and pubs.