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Sponsoring Skilled Chefs

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Looking for the latest advice for how to sponsor a chef for a restaurant?

Read our new blog here: How to Sponsor a Chef (Key Changes in 2021 & What You Need to Know)

From 1 December 2020 it became much easier for restaurants to sponsor and employ chefs from outside of the EU. The door is now open for many restaurants to sponsor chefs under a Skilled Worker sponsor licence (previous known as a tier 2 General sponsor licence).

Previously, only senior chefs such as a head chef, sous chef, chef de partie etc, could be sponsored. They needed five years’ experience at that level and to be paid at least £30,000 per year.

Thankfully, and following the changes in late 2020, any type of chef can now be sponsored, and the minimum amount you must pay the chef has decreased. This has opened the sponsorship of chefs as a viable option for many restaurants. So, what are the key changes?

Chefs but not cooks

One of the main changes is that any type of chef can now be sponsored. There is no requirement to be a senior chef or to have a set amount of experience. However, the guidance is clear that ‘cooks’ cannot be sponsored.

Any type of establishment

It used to be the case that fast food or ‘standard fare outlets’ (whatever that meant) were prevented from sponsoring. There is no such restriction under the new system.

Lower rate of pay

Whereas before a skilled chef had to be paid at least £30,000, the new general minimum threshold has dropped to £25,600. However, If the individual is classed as a ‘new entrant’, then you can pay considerably less – just £20,480. New entrants include individuals under the age of 26, as well as ‘recent graduates’ from UK universities.

Advertising and the abolition of the resident labour market test

Previously, before you could hire a chef from overseas, you normally had to run something called a resident labour market test, to show no ‘settled worker’ can do the job. This formal test has now been abolished. However, in practice you may in many cases still need to advertise the position in the UK, before sponsoring from overseas.

You can read about this more in our blog Need to Sponsor a Chef (Key Changes in 2021 & What You Need To Know).

How do I apply for a licence?

Before applying for a licence, you must decide who will be responsible for the licence. You will need to ensure you can comply with your sponsor licence duties in case you are inspected by the Home Office (and restaurants are routinely inspected before a licence is granted). Therefore, we advise that you prepare for an inspection before the Home Office will grant a licence. You will need to understand the timescales involved with sponsorship.

The above issues, as well as the actual process for applying for a licence, and much more, is covered in our detailed Skilled Worker guide.

How we can help

The Immigration Team at Truth Legal are experts at supporting restaurants with their immigration matters.

We can:

  • Help you to apply for a Skilled Worker sponsor licence
  • Help you to apply for a certificate of sponsorship
  • Adapt your HR systems to make sure they are Home Office compliance
  • Assist individuals with their visa application or issues
  • Advise and assist around Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Advise on Right to Work matters

If you are a restaurant owner or manager and want to sponsor a chef, or have any other immigration matter you would like help with, then contact the Immigration Team at Truth Legal.

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