The British Takeaway Campaign (BTC) has called for urgent action after quarterly figures reveal a drop in EU net migration.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 57,000 more people from the EU came to the UK than left in the year ending September 2018, the lowest record figure since 2009.
Commenting on the potential impact on the takeaway sector, Ibrahim Dogus, chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, said: “With 68% of takeaways experiencing skills shortages, it is imperative that the Government adopts a joined up approach to catering skills for the takeaway sector if it is to plug this staffing gap. Policymakers must recognise that domestic and immigration policy needs to work in harmony to generate the best results for business, with a single, positive approach to skills across Government.
“Today’s drop will exacerbate these skills shortages, putting at risk the future of a sector worth £4.5 billion each year. That’s why we are calling for urgent action including a transition period that gives sufficient time for the training of domestic workers.”
As well as a transition period, the BTC is calling for more to be done to overcome the recruitment gap by welcoming chefs with skills that can only be sourced internationally. Ibrahim adds: “That’s why we have urged the Migration Advisory Committee to address the absurd Shortage Occupation List anomaly which allows for the recruitment of specialist chefs for restaurants, but, bizarrely, not takeaways.”
By contrast, net migration from outside the EU has hit a 15 year high with some 261,000 more non-EU citizens arriving than leaving in the year ending 2018.