The Government’s proposed immigration system will be “disastrous” for the hospitality sector, Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO has warned.

In a policy paper published yesterday, the Government outlined plans to end low-skilled migration from the EU, instructing companies to use the EU citizens already in Britain to fill low-skilled jobs.

Set to come into force in just ten months time, a points-based system will be introduced for workers with a minimum salary of £25,600, and no one earning less than £20,480 will be able to take a job in the country.

Responding to the proposal, Nicholls said that businesses will need more time to adapt to the new policies, and fast implementation of the proposals “will cut off future growth and expansion and deter investment in Britain’s high streets. It will lead to reduced levels of service for customers and business closures.”

The Government has suggested that the proposals will stop businesses relying on cheap European labour and encourage them to invest in existing staff, productivity and technology, but Nicholls argued that this is something the industry is already committed to.

“Hospitality is already facing an acute labour shortage, despite investing significantly in skills, training and increasing apprenticeships for the domestic workforce. We are facing record low levels of unemployment, a dip in young people entering the labour market and have the highest vacancy levels of any sector,” she said.

“We understand the Government’s desire to deliver on the referendum result and its aim of moving to a skills-based immigration system. We fully support the ambition to upskill the domestic population and provide opportunities for people in every part of the UK. These proposals fail to deliver on the Government’s own objective of providing an immigration system which works for the UK’s economy and its people.”