A petition has been launched to allow EU nationals to come to the UK to work in hospitality for up to two years.
The petition states:
“The Government should create a special visa for people from the EU countries to come to the UK to work in the hospitality industry for a period of up to 2 years, similar to the Seasonal Work visa for horticulture workers. Some countries have visas like this to support the hospitality sector.”
“There is a massive shortage of qualified labour in the UK to fill vacancies that were in many cases previously filled by EU staff. For years people from the EU countries were the backbone of the hospitality industry and many were affected by COVID and subsequently by Brexit’s final terms. Many restaurants are struggling to find people with experience and willingness to work.”
The petition was launched last week and has already gained 8,314 (including CLH News) signatures. It will run until February 2023. If it achieves 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to the petition, and if it hits 100,000 signatures, the issue be considered for debate in Parliament.
The UK hospitality industry has lost as many as 200,000 international workers since 2019, according to a report published earlier this month, with as many as 120,000 European workers estimated to have left the sector.
In recent months, some operators have turned to hiring overseas staff in an effort to combat rising staff shortages. Earlier this year (15 February 2022), following a change to the Immigration Rules published on 24 January 2022, care workers were added to the shortage occupation list, which implemented a Home Office announcement made on 24 December last year to alleviate staff shortages in the social care sector. The changes are, however, temporary – in place for 12 months to start with, after which they will be reviewed.
Currently, Skilled chefs have been removed from the Shortage Occupation list but continue to qualify for sponsorship.