UK visa changes will result in restaurant closures-BHA
United Kingdom, 3rd December: Recent changes to the UK immigration rules will have a devastating effect on the ethnic restaurants in the nation, the BHA (British Hospitality Association) has cautioned.
The UK visa cap on the skilled migrants hailing from non-EU nations was announced by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron last week. So, as per the new UK immigration rules, the number of non-EU skilled migrants allowed into the UK have been slashed down to 21,700, resulting in a reduction of 6,300 skilled migrants from the limit for the year 2009.
The new limit will come into effect from April 2011 onwards.
The BHA is worried about the impact of the new visa rules on the £3b UK restaurant sector. The restaurant sector is already finding it difficult to find the requisite number of specialized ethnic hospitality workers in the UK.
The changed UK immigration rules have raised the eligibility requirements under the UK Tier 2 of the PBS (Points Based System) to graduate-level qualifications or above. And these new requirements are likely to restrict bar chefs from non-EU nations to come to the UK and work here.
According to BHA’s chief executive, Ufi Ibrahim, the requirement of graduate-level education is very disastrous for the UK restaurants providing high specialty ethnic dishes of Oriental and Asian origin.
There are around 13,000 ethnic restaurants in the UK which depend on non-EU chefs immigrating to the UK for working here. And they are going to suffer from these recent changes in the UK immigration rules.
Chairman of Masala World, Ranjit Mathrani, said changes in the UK visa rules might destroy UK ethnic restaurants.
Speaking about raising the education requirement to graduate level, Mathrani said that graduate level qualification is totally irrelevant and misguided adding that only a handful of UK restaurant chefs will meet this new criterion.
As per the BHA figures, around 11 additional jobs are created for every single specialized chef in the nation.
Ms. Ibrahim stated that the lifetime skills of around 2,412 Oriental and Asian chefs who were felicitated with Certificates of Sponsorship in the year till June 2010 cannot be found in the EEA workers. Although, all these chefs meet the current NVQ3 level (under the PBS), however, they will not be considered as possessing graduate status, she maintained.
Showing concerns over the new UK visa rules for chefs, Ms. Ibrahim has already forwarded a letter to the UK Home Secretary Theresa May. She added that such rules will eventually lead to closure of UK ethnic restaurants and restrict the hospitality sector from creating new jobs in the UK.