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Good news for restaurants in the latest Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report

29 May 2019 Blog Darren Stevenson

The Migration Advisory Committee has recently reviewed the Shortage Occupation List and buried within the report is some good news for restaurants;

“The MAC recommends the removal of the condition that establishments that offer a take-away service cannot use the Shortage Occupation List, this rules out recruitment to parts of the industry with genuine shortages as most establishments will offer some level of take-away service. We do not wish to create a further compliance burden on UK Visas and immigrations and we recommend that the number and quality of applications is monitored closely and if it appears that usage of Tier 2 (General) increases considerably we will need to revisit the recommendation.”

The take-away clause was increasingly out-dated and essentially barred a restaurant from engaging skilled chefs under the Shortage Occupation List criteria if they offered a take-away. With the rise of online delivery apps restaurants commonly will offer this service and customers’ preferences for eating-in have changed. It is no longer appropriate to say that the provision of take-away services was determinative as to the quality of the restaurant, if it ever was.

If the Government accepts the recommendation it will alter the rules to allow the engagement of skilled chefs as follows:

  • The pay is at least £29,570 per year after deductions for accommodation, meals etc;
  • The job requires five or more years relevant experience in a role of at least equivalent status to the one they are entering
  • The job is not in either a fast food or standard fare outlet
  • The job is in one of the following roles: Executive chef - limited to one per establishment Head chef - limited to one per establishment Sous chef - limited to one for every four kitchen staff per establishment Specialist chef - limited to one per speciality per establishment

This is a significant development, and will hopefully do much to ease the recruitment crisis reported across the restaurant industry. Organisations should consider seeking advice on sponsorship in anticipation of the rule change, particularly given the ominous warnings as to increased scrutiny.

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