As part of a review of "graduate" level jobs, which qualify non EU workers for entry into the UK under Tier 2, The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) believes hotel managers should now be removed.
If accepted by ministers it will mean bringing a hotel manager from outside the EU to work in the UK will become very difficult, if not impossible, from April of this year onwards, when new visa quotas come into force.
It is a further blow to hospitality operators, which are currently battling to retain non EU chefs' position on the Tier 2 occupation shortage list - essentially a collection of job roles where non EU workers are needed but wouldn't qualify for entry under the points-based system.
One of the main beneficiaries of the current shortage list are non EU chefs. If the current exemption is removed – and MAC confirmed today it would be asking ministers to consider such a move at the end of this month – it has been predicted it would plunge the UK’s £3bn ethnic restaurant industry into a skills crisis, leading to restaurant closures.
However, with the coalition government’s stated aim of reducing annual immigration to the UK from the hundred thousands to tens of thousands in the next few years, it appears the hospitality industry's reliance on foreign workers has put it in the firing line as visa numbers are dramatically scaled back.
Chris Druce is a contributor to BigHospitality sister title M&C Report