BBPA and BII push Gov to fill pubs vacancies

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Joint submission made: BBPA CEO Emma McClarkin is ‘pleased to provide evidence’ to help fill jobs in hospitality
Joint submission made: BBPA CEO Emma McClarkin is ‘pleased to provide evidence’ to help fill jobs in hospitality

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Chefs from overseas must be included on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the British institute of Innkeeping (BII).

The trade bodies have teamed up to construct a joint submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, which is seeking evidence in a bid to fill job shortages through migrant workers.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Amid a backdrop of staff vacancies, we are pleased to provide evidence and feedback to this consultation as we urgently need effective solutions to ensure our industry can recruit talented, skilful and passionate people that are the lifeblood of pubs and breweries in communities across the UK.

“As a sector, we are already working hard to overcome staffing issues, increasing salaries, offering accommodation, and developing new training opportunities to name a few, but there is only so much we can do within the regulatory constraints and structural shortages in the UK workforce that currently exist.”

Limiting pubs’ abilities

She continued: “Vacancies tend to be highest in kitchen-based roles, limiting pubs’ ability to offer certain menu items, or in some cases serve any food at all, taking away vital income streams at an acutely difficult time for hospitality more generally.

“We are urging the Government to include chefs on the Shortage Occupation List so skilled workers from overseas can easily take up roles in pubs across the country and help pubs operate to their full capacity, run profitable businesses, and continue to serve their communities.”

Earlier this month (May 2023), UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls claimed vacancies in the sector had dropped by 22% during the past year but the fall was not quick enough​.

Huge effort of sector

She said: “The drop in hospitality vacancies we have seen over the past year is testament to the huge effort the sector is putting in to develop our own talent and help people back into the labour market, such as investing in skills and creating more flexible working patterns.

“While a 22% drop over the past year is significant, vacancies remain stubbornly high and way in excess of pre-Covid levels.”

The Government’s call for evidence document states the benefits of having a job on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) includes having: “A lower salary threshold (compared to the current skilled worker salary threshold, currently £25,600) of either £20,480 or 80% of the going rate for the occupation (whichever is higher).”

The time period for responses ended on 26 May 2023.

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