The migration cap is making life tough for London businesses, particularly in the restaurant sector.
A survey of 123 firms by the London Chamber of Commerce found that 23% had found it difficult to fill vacancies as a result of the cap, introduced in April this year.
Under the annual limit, employers are only be able to bring 20,700 people from outside the EU to work in skilled professions under Tier Two of the system. A further 1,000 visas will also be made available to people of "exceptional talent".
The 1,000 exceptional talent visas will be given to those whom experts believe will make the biggest contribution to science and the arts in the UK.
The cap has proven a particular problem for the country's £3b ethnic restaurant sector, which relies on specialist chefs with skills that are often hard to find in this country.
The survey found that almost two-thirds of respondents had employed non-EU migrants in the past five years or had considered doing so, according to a report in the London Evening Standard.
The Chamber of Commerce's chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: "We fully understand the political and social pressures placed on the Government to reduce net migration but our report shows that by preventing UK businesses from accessing the best global talent these pressures will be made worse, not better.
"The Government must be aware that its reforms to the UK's migration system threaten to undermine two of its biggest promises to the business community - that the UK must be ‘open for business' and that we must return to being an ‘exporting nation'."
By Neil Gerrard
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