The Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association together with the British Sandwich and Food to Go Association and Café Life Association, have welcomed the Home Affairs Committee’s report on immigration published 15 January which calls for much stronger co-ordination between immigration policy and the labour market, as well as open and honest debate on the issues.
The Associations have collectively called on the Government to recognise the reliance of many sectors of the food industry on immigrant labour, much of which involves short term stays in the UK.
The Associations also fully support the call for differentiated approaches for different types of immigration and the need to better address public concerns that immigration rules are not enforced or are unfair.
In a recent submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, the Associations suggested the introduction of a visa system linked to businesses and employment which it suggested could provide border authorities with better control over working migrant movements.
However, the Associations remain concerned that in the rush to introduce new EU immigration controls, the low skilled migrant sector, upon which the food and catering industries rely heavily, could be squeezed out by skills quotas. There is also a concern about the levels of bureaucracy, their efficiency and the fees that might be applied.
“Our sectors of the food industry make a substantial contribution to the UK economy but this could be seriously undermined if too stringent immigration controls are introduced, particularly for EU workers,” says Director Jim Winship. “In London, some 75% of those working in our markets are currently EU workers, many of whom are only in the UK for a few years. They tend not to be long term immigrants.
“We fully support the Committee’s view that Government should differentiate between the different types of immigrants as well as for open and honest public debate on this whole issue. The public will not be happy if they find that queues to get served in food shops take twice as long because of staff shortages, for example.”
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Issued on behalf of the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association, The Café Life Association and The Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association.
Issued: 15th January, 2018
Some Industry Facts and Statistics
- The takeaway industry in the UK has created 41,000 new jobs since 2009 (Just Eat Survey of Just Eat Restaurants). The industry now employs over 231,000 people.
- Average non-British workforce in this sector across the UK is 54%
- The foodservice sector is the 4th largest contributor to the economy.
- There are already too few people to support the demand for back-of-house jobs in the foodservice sector.
- There is insufficient housing available in London to enable low paid/low skill workers to move there from other parts of the country.
- British Sandwich & Food to Go industry research suggests that between 70% and 75% working in foodservice outlets in London are from outside the UK, most of them from within the EU. Outside London it is around 40%.
- There is still considerable growth potential for sandwich and food-to-go businesses in the UK. The Institute of Grocery Distribution says that the industry is set to increase in size to £23.5 billion by 2022. Subway, one of the leading chains, aims to open a further 500 stores in the UK by 2020, creating 5,000 new jobs.
- The Italian food and pizza restaurant and takeaway sectors are also in growth. Domino’s Pizza, which has just opened its 1,000th store in the UK, plans to open a further 600 new stores, creating 21,000 more jobs.
- There is already a shortage of experienced pizza chefs in the UK.