Renewed calls for chefs to be added to shortage occupation list

01 June 2023 by
Renewed calls for chefs to be added to shortage occupation list

Hospitality trade bodies have reiterated calls for the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to add chefs to the shortage occupation list to make it easier for businesses to recruit from abroad.

UKHospitality said there was around a 10% shortage of head chefs and up to 21% for production chefs.

Responding to the MAC's call for evidence, the trade body said a quarter of its members had said they would have to restrict trading hours if vacancies were not filled.

It has also requested that hospitality supervisors, which includes housekeepers and receptionists, and sommeliers are reclassified to make them eligible for the skilled visa route.

Some 20% of UKHospitality's members have vacancies for supervisors and there are estimated to be up to 600 vacancies for sommeliers.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeeping have also made a joint submission to the MAC calling for chefs to be added to the shortage occupation list.

"Vacancies tend to be highest in kitchen-based roles, limiting pubs' ability to offer certain menu items, or in some cases serve any food at all, taking away vital income streams at an acutely difficult time for hospitality more generally," said Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA.

The MAC, which is an independent body, did not recommend any hospitality roles be added to the shortage occupation list in an interim report in March. It said it had not seen "substantial evidence" that hospitality job roles could not be filled by UK workers.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: "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.

"I'd urge the MAC to recognise the value hospitality can bring to the economy, when it's operating at full strength, and grant our requests to help alleviate the devastating shortages that continue to plague our sector."

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