News / Press release / People

Calls to expand Youth Mobility Scheme as chefs blocked from shortage list

UKHospitality is urging the Government to implement the recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to expand the Youth Mobility Scheme to more countries.

The call comes as the MAC did not recommend chefs, or other hospitality roles, to be included on the Shortage Occupation List in its latest review, despite compelling evidence from the sector.

The committee, however, did take up our request to reclassify sommeliers to be eligible for the skilled worker visa route.

What did the MAC review say?

The MAC was reviewing the Shortage Occupation List, as well as other immigration routes, and has published its conclusions:

  1. 1

    Roles included in the Shortage Occupation List

    In our submission to the MAC, we called for chef roles to be added to the list.

    The MAC recognised there was a shortage of chefs but chose not to recommend their inclusion on the Shortage Occupation List.

  2. 2

    Roles eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa

    We asked the MAC to include sommeliers and hospitality supervisors, including housekeepers and receptionists, to be reclassified.

    The MAC did reclassify sommeliers to be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa but did not reclassify hospitality supervisors.

A chef is cooking in his restaurant's kitchen. High-end gourmet restaurant.

Our response

Our Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Expanding the Youth Mobility Scheme has been a long-standing ask to help the sector recruit and I’m pleased the Migration Advisory Committee continue to make this recommendation.

It’s imperative that the Government implements this recommendation from its own advisory body, in order to help hospitality businesses recruit. This is particularly important in light of the Committee’s refusal to add chefs to the Shortage Occupation List.

“We would strongly refute the Committee’s reasoning behind not recommending chefs to be included on the Shortage Occupation List, which demonstrates a lack of understanding and outdated perception of chef roles in hospitality.

“It has ignored the many changes to working practices, including increased pay, better working hours and increased development opportunities since 2020. There is a significant amount of work taking place to recruit and train chefs, but the Committee needs to recognise that these initiatives take time to bear fruit.

The pandemic significantly exacerbated chef shortages by wiping out two years-worth of newly trained chefs and this should have been taken into account.

“The Shortage Occupation List is specifically designed to bridge gaps caused by a shortage, which is why we’d asked for a temporary addition.

“The Committee’s refusal to add more hospitality roles to the Shortage Occupation List is holding the sector back from reaching its full potential of creating even more jobs and driving economic growth.”