The British Takeaway Campaign (BTC) is calling for changes to the immigration system after the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show net EU migration is at the lowest for five years.
According to ONS, 130,000 EU nationals emigrated in the year to September, the highest number since 2008, while only 220,000 came to live here - 47,000 fewer than the previous year.
Responding to the figures, Ibrahim Dogus, chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, said: “With a third of takeaway restaurants experiencing skills shortages, particularly for chefs, and more than a third saying Brexit will make it more difficult to recruit staff, it's vital that the immigration system enables the sector to access the skills it needs from inside and outside the EU.
“That’s why the BTC is calling for the development of a long-term immigration system that does not discriminate between EU and non-EU migrants, and instead prioritises skills and sector shortages – helping to support thousands of takeaway restaurants. This needs to go hand in hand with investment in high-quality vocational training in order to build a pipeline of home grown talent.”
Among the measures the BTC is calling for is for the Government to revise the Shortage Occupation List to include specialist chefs in shortage cuisines that work in takeaways, and to ensure that limits on free movement are kept to a minimum and are focused on areas of skill shortage.
It would also like to see a Business Visa created, providing low skilled migrants with a 12-24 month visa – binding them by contract to an employer, with scope to review after the original employment period, in addition to support and incentives for the takeaway industry to invest in training employees locally.