UKHospitality has criticised the government for not including overseas restaurant and bar workers in its shortage occupation list, describing the situation as “disappointing”.

On ongoing labour shortages hospitality sector are “crippling” businesses and forcing them to reduce their hours, costing the industry billions in lost trade, chief executive Kate Nicholls told City A.M.

She said the trade body had provided “compelling evidence and data” to the Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation to prove that the sector was struggling to get sufficient employees, but in an update of the shortage occupation list they are still not included.

“With shortages in the sector two-thirds higher than pre-pandemic, it’s clear there aren’t enough active people in the economy to fill all the roles we need, despite the extensive work the sector is doing to recruit domestically, including the economically inactive,” Nicholls said.

Sarah Olney, Lib Dem treasury spokeswoman, told City A.M: “London’s restaurants, pubs and bars help form the backbone of the city’s economy, yet this Conservative government has continually ignored their calls for help.”

It is understood that a full review of the shortage occupation list is ongoing.