Restaurateurs and hoteliers should still be able to employ skilled chefs from outside the UK under toughened immigration laws, but not other hospitality workers, a report recommends today.
Chefs are listed among a range of occupations for which the Migration Advisory Committee considers there to be a shortage of skilled workers in the UK, meaning employers who are licensed sponsors will be able to bring in migrant workers from outside Europe to fill vacancies if they need to.
The government’s talk of introducing a new Points Based System to address immigration levels has been of particular concern to owners of Asian restaurants who fear difficulties in finding staff if it is brought into force.
In May, the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs refreshed its warning of a "curry crisis" and the potential closure of hundreds of Asian restaurants if the government`s proposals for strict new immigration laws are not overturned.
The committee said it had considered other occupations within the hospitality industry, such as waiting staff, but decided against including them on the list.
MAC member Dr Diane Coyle said: “There is a straightforward message in our report, even though the analysis is complex and detailed: only those job titles which are skilled, in shortage and for which is it sensible to use immigrant workers to fill the shortages make it onto our list.
“We believe that our recommendations achieve the right balance between the needs of individual employers and those of the UK labour market and economy in the long term.”
Under the recommendations, shortage occupation lists will be used in the second stage, or Tier 2, of the new Points Based System.
Under Tier 2, migrant workers will need a certificate of sponsorship from a sponsored employer, must satisfy English language requirements and a points criteria laid out by the government.