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Foreign Chefs could disappear under new immigration rules

Hospitality industry may experience chef shortage because of the skilled migrant rules.

HR directors have warned about the difficulty to find home-grown labour in order to replace low-skilled migrant workers.

By the end of November, Tier 2 of the government’s points-based system will launch covering skilled workers. And the hospitality employers are angry that certain jobs, such as those below sous chefs (the third in command in the kitchen), are not included in the skilled occupation shortage list.

Dawn Turner, regional HR director at hotel giant Hyatt Regency told Personnel Today: "The one area of concern is over the shortage positions, for example, chefs. They aren’t on the list and this could lead potentially to a gap in the workforce."

Julian Yew, an employment solicitor at law firm Wedlake Bell, which hosted a hotel forum last week, confirmed that many British nationals "did not want to take up low skilled jobs". But, he added, kitchen managers will need to better develop UK staff so they were "less reliant on foreign labour".
"Talent management will be the way forward to get round the hurdles of hiring foreign workers," he said.

A Home Office spokeswoman declared: "Tier 2, for skilled workers, will ensure that opportunities for British jobseekers are maintained, by requiring companies to prove they cannot fill the post with a resident worker before recruiting from outside Europe." Jan Marshall, director of HR at the Marriott County Hall London, agreed that leaving low-skilled migrant workers like stewards or housekeepers off the list created "difficulties". However, she said: "People say there are untapped resources in the UK, we’re not using job centres as much as we could."

The criteria for migrant chefs to get into the shortage list includes that they earn £8.10 or more an hour. A possible solution to keep migrant chefs employed in the UK could be to raise their pay.

For more information about the Skilled Occupation Shortage List visit http://www.hsmp-services.co.uk/shortage_occupations.html

If you are concerned about the new immigration system ring the UK Border Agency helpline on 08450106677 or visit www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk.

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