“Yes, Chef!”: Positive immigration news for restaurants

15th November 2019

Immigration and hospitality

The UK hospitality trade is booming and with programmes like ‘Master Chef’ taking its viewers on a journey to different locations outside the UK, it is understandable that the savvy businessperson who owns a restaurant in the UK would want to hire chefs from abroad who are equipped with the necessary culinary skills to create authentic cuisine.

The shortage of chefs in the UK is a longstanding problem for hospitality businesses, restaurants and takeaways. Previously, a high-end restaurant that also offered a delivery service was not able to bring in a skilled chef from outside the EU via the Tier 2 sponsorship route available to those employing skilled migrants. Offering a delivery service was somehow construed as meaning that the chef’s role was less skilled.

Removing restrictions

The Home Office has bowed to industry pressure at last, however, making an announcement on 6 October 2019 to say that it has removed restrictions from restaurants offering a takeaway service so that migrant chefs can now be sponsored under a Tier 2 sponsor licence to enter the UK to work in such establishments.

Business leaders wishing to take advantage of this change to boost their sales are strongly advised to take action now. Applications for sponsorship licences are likely to see a Brexit-related increase in the coming months with a consequential increase in waiting times and potentially cost.

Gastronomy is not only for food critiques, everyone has become a food critique in their own right and being able to fine dine and sample unique foods in new establishments is all the rage. Social media influencers advertise the food they are eating on their social media platforms which in turn brings in new customers and provides more turnover of revenue for restaurants.

Migrant chefs are professionals in the foods they cook and this gives the UK a welcome opportunity to increase the variety of food genres and boost customer spending in the hospitality sector.