Sydney's cafes are back but facing staff shortages

Sen said there's generally a sense of optimism with customers and that they are spending freely. However, the cafe and restaurant is short-staffed. A familiar scene playing out across Sydney's cafes and restaurants.

Labor shortages are hitting public-facing businesses the hardest, those already affected by months of rolling lockdowns in the two biggest cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

Government statistics show the number of non-resident workers in the country - often travellers with work visas - was down by two-thirds in the June quarter of 2021 from the start of 2020.

There are now some 300,000 fewer foreign students living in Australian than at the start of the pandemic, a drop of more than half.

That has left businesses in Sydney, home to a quarter of Australia's 2.2 million casual workforce, struggling to find staff as the city emerges from four months of lockdowns.

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