Italian restaurant workers heading for London will now be blocked by new post-brexit rules.

Thousands who once came to the city to work will now fall victim to a new regulation which raised the minimum salary threshold for a skilled work visa from £26,000 to £38,700.

Recent research suggests that more than 90% of the 8,500 migrants recruited in the hospitality sector last year would not qualify under the new threshold.

The Times reports that the latest rule change would also put an end to a chapter in the Italian involvement in London, which dates back to the founding of the city in AD 43 by the Romans and the 14th-century presence of bankers from Lombardy in what is now Lombard Street.

“A young Italian with initiative, the will to work and curiosity could once say ‘I’ll go to London’ — a fantastic city for the young which practically invented music, fashion and style,” Italian commentator Antonio Polito wrote in Corriere della Sera yesterday. 

The real victims of the new salary rule are not just young Italians but the London restaurants struggling to stay open without enough staff, said the publication, with 120,000 roles already unfilled in the UK hospitality sector and a reliance on foreign workers to do 15% of jobs. 

“Since coming out of Covid, the hospitality sector has had labour shortages of between 8 and 12 per cent,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality. “The successive tightening of the skilled worker visa means that the route from Europe to fill those skilled jobs have all but been eliminated,” she added.