Chefs react to notion that hospitality work is unskilled

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th February 2020

Yesterday, the government announced plans to introduce a points-based immigration system, whereby so-called unskilled workers won't be allowed to work and live in the UK. 

Under the new regime, free movement will be ended for anyone not meeting a points threshold, requiring, among other criteria, that they have received a job offer earning at least £25,600 - unless it has been singled out for having a skills shortage. 

Among the sectors to bear the brunt of the new policy is hospitality, which relies on the influx of EU citizens to fill positions in an industry which is, according to UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, near full employment. 

She told The Guardian that “ruling out a temporary, low-skilled route for migration in just 10 months’ time would be disastrous for the hospitality sector and the British people.”

Chefs were prolific in their reactions on our Facebook page. We picked the arguments that got the most traction to continue the debate: 

Chef Dean Banks, runner up in the MasterChef: The Professionals competition in 2018 and director of Haar restaurant said the new points-based system would definitely have a negative impact on the industry - starting with his own team: 

 

Many were left wondering who gets to decide the difference between skilled and unskilled professions. 

 

Others, like chef Ellis Barrie, pondered where the line would be drawn - and who to turn to for answers as to which roles do class as 'skilled':

 

The answer, of course, lies in the salary - which some see could be positive driving force for the industry.

Stuart Todd suggested that the classification - and the lack of draw - could come from the low salary levels in the industry, and that by offering better pay, the skills shortage would be less of a concern. 

One chef pointed out that instead of lamenting the lack of skill in the industry, his peers should follow his lead by reaching out to young people. 

 

Not a chef - but nonetheless an outspoken voice for the industry - Fred Sirieix called for the imminent launch of a coalition for the industry, including professionals, educationalists and ministers. 

"More than ever we need an urgent plan to solve the hospitality industry staff and skills shortage. Here is my proposal. "

 

As in the whole immigration debate, some weren't critical of the new legislation, and called on others to look on the bright side, venturing that it could bring good things for the industry, like a reduction in VAT, better sponsorship opportunities for chefs around the world, and a unionised workforce. 

 

What are your thoughts? Do you think the points-based system will be good or bad for the hospitality industry? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th February 2020

Chefs react to notion that hospitality work is unskilled