The leaked Home Office migration document, suggesting there may be a cap on low-skilled workers, would undermine the needs of the pub industry.
That’s the view of Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), who points out that although the brewing and pub sector does employ thousands of UK citizens, 17% of its 900,000 employees are from overseas, and this rises to 40%-plus in metropolitan areas.
For some companies it is much higher, particularly in terms of kitchen staff.
Ms Simmonds said: “The UK’s low unemployment rates are going to make it extremely hard to replace these employees with UK nationals. If there were to be a cap for EU employees, it must be at a level that can sustain our industry.
“It is, however, good to read that the government will be taking on board the views of the Migration Advisory Committee. The BBPA is already in touch with the committee and they are keen to meet with us.
“Overall, there must be a greater understanding of the needs of our sector from government if we are to continue to compete for customers and provide the service and quality expected from overseas and domestic visitors, some 14 million of whom visit the great British pub every week.”