Saturday, March 19, 2011

Takeaway chefs from HK/China excluded in new immigration quotas

As part of our coalition government's promise to 'clamp down' on non-European Union immigration, the Home Office has announced new restrictions on the number and types of people who can migrate to the UK from outside the EU to work.

The new rules mean that, for example, someone from China or Hong Kong who wants to come to the UK to work as a chef in a takeaway will no longer be allowed to do so.

It's a blow to the Chinese catering industry which has been calling for special dispensation to employ migrant workers as part of the Strangers into Citizens campaign (see video above).

Chinese chefs will still be permitted to work in UK restaurants as long as they meet certain criteria (minimum five years' experience, income of £28,260 after accommodation and food) but takeaways are excluded.

The BBC reports:

"Immigration Minister Damian Green: "These changes will allow firms to bring in people with necessary skills without migrants becoming the first resort to fill a wide range of available jobs.

"This government is also determined to get people back to work and provide business with the skills they need from the British workforce - reducing the need for migrants at the same time as we reduce their number."

I understand the move might be logical from a domestic and political point of view - when there is record unemployment in the UK it does not make sense to encourage businesses to bring people in from faraway countries to do jobs that might be done by a British person.

But should that apply to ethnic catering? After all, can you really say that a Chinese chef working in a takeaway has actually deprived a British person of a job? Isn't the job, and the business itself generated by the ethnicity of the people involved? If British chefs are now supposed to be considered for jobs in Chinese takeaways, who is going to train them?

Personally I don't think it is that undesirable (for either the shop owners or the customers) for a Chinese takeaway to employ Chinese staff to cook Chinese food. It makes you wonder if in this case the law has been used to target something that was not actually doing any harm.

Story: BBC

Story: The Guardian


Steven said...

Thank you for bringing this news to our attention. I would not have heard it otherwise.

I would concur that it is very, very difficult to find qualified for takeaway jobs now. Some of my friends have started to employ some polish people but complain that they don't understand the Chinese way of working, and lack the necessary cooking skills.

It would take much too long to find the right sort of people and train them up, in my opinion.

And, like you said, is a highly skilled migrant Chinese takeaway chef really taking away a British person's job?

Chicki peckpeck said...

Thank you for this information. I agree, it is the ethnicity of the people involved that make the business what it is. To have foreign chefs in a Chinese takeaway is effectively changing the business into an imitation, regardless of the skills of the chef. That would be a shame if that did happen, from a cultural and social aspect too.

suhat said...

Thank you for this information.

Anonymous said...

you don't have to be Chinese to be a takeaway chef you just need the skill, I am british and I am a Chinese takeaway head chef...., most british people are to lazy and cant commit to the hard work of a takeaway eg long hours