The government has confirmed that chefs from outside the EU will be accepted to work in the UK under its new tier system, but has reduced the number of foreign workers it will allow in to the country.
The shortage occupation list, recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee in September, was approved by the government yesterday, allowing restaurants and hotels to employ chefs from outside the EU without applying through the points system, but the number of migrants permitted to work in the UK has been reduced by 200,000 to 800,000.
Border and Immigration minister Phil Woolas said the new Australian-style points system was more flexible and would allow the government to respond to business needs easier. He also said the government would be investing in skills and training for UK workers to ensure they could fill more jobs.
He said: "We have recently made a number of funding deals with employers, worth £630m over three years, to give them greater access to flexible, bespoke training aimed at tackling skills shortages in their sectors. The deals cover sectors such as catering, hospitality and construction."
The British Hospitality Association and People 1st had campaigned for the move after 89 per cent of catering establishments said withdrawing work permits from non-EU workers would have a detrimental impact on their business.
To get in under Tier 2 skilled foreign workers must have:
* English language skills;
* prospective earnings of more than £24,000, or slightly less if they have a decent qualification - or an offer of a job on the shortage list;
* enough money to support themselves for the first month of their stay
Employers will also need to get a sponsor licence to enable them to bring in migrant workers.
Chefs on shortage occupation list