UKHospitality has once again emphasised the need to include chefs in the shortage occupation list of the UK, aiming to simplify the process of hiring them from overseas for businesses.
In response to the call for evidence by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), UKHospitality highlighted that approximately 10% of head chef positions and as high as 21% of production chef positions are currently unfilled.
Chief executive of UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls, commented:
"As we have continued to highlight, we need to have a pragmatic and sensible approach to immigration and that simply isn't the case now.
While the sector continues to invest significantly in growing its own talent, there needs to be changes to our immigration system to enable businesses to fill essential skills gaps."
The shortage occupation list identifies skilled jobs with a limited domestic workforce supply and facilitates the recruitment of foreign workers by reducing certain requirements.
Specifically, it lowers the salary threshold for skilled worker visas, allowing eligible roles on the list to be offered at £20,480 or at a 20% discount, whichever is higher. This adjustment aims to address the scarcity of workers and makes it more affordable for businesses to sponsor visas for foreign employees.
Kate Nicholls added:
"The Shortage Occupation List is a critical part of that and adding chefs to the list is a simple move that can have enormous benefits.
In our evidence submitted to the MAC, we highlighted how a quarter of members told us they would restrict their trading hours if this level of chef vacancies continued. This is likely to be on top of cutbacks many businesses have already been forced to make."