As EU nationals leave Britain in ever greater numbers ahead of Brexit, restaurants like pizzeria chain Franco Manca are reporting shortages that could spell trouble for a sector that relies on immigrant labor. The number of EU nationals leaving Britain, most of them from central Europe, rose by 33,000 to 122,000 people during the 12 months to March, according to the latest data following last year's Brexit referendum. Franco Manca's parent company, Fulham Shore, said the prospect of new controls on immigration when Britain leaves the bloc was "already affecting the availability of skilled European restaurant staff."
The company, where only 20 percent of the staff are British, said it was implementing "a number of incentive schemes" to persuade Europeans to stay. Owners worry that British workers may not be able or willing to fill the gap left by departing Europeans. The hospitality industry currently has the highest proportion of unfilled jobs in Britain, according to the Office for National Statistics.