Foreign migrants flock to join catering sector

18 November 2004
Foreign migrants flock to join catering sector

Nearly one-third of the 80,730 Eastern European workers who entered Britain between May and September this year took jobs in hospitality and catering.

According to the British Hospitality Association (BHA), 76% of the 24,170 new workers who joined the trade under the Government's Worker Registration Scheme took up permanent roles.

The majority of immigrants came from Poland (56%), followed by Lithuania (17%) and Slovakia (10%). Others came from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia and Slovenia.

London was their principal destination, attracting 40% (or 9,590) of all newcomers to the hospitality trade and half of all Eastern Europeans who travelled to the UK.

Other popular destinations for catering and hospitality staff were southern and central England, which attracted 2,840 of newcomers, the South-east (2,490) and the South-west (1,705).

More than one-third of the Eastern Europeans who headed for Scotland chose jobs in hospitality and catering, filling 1,745 vacancies.

Overall, the majority of immigrants took low-skilled jobs, with just 265 filling roles as managers and as head or second chefs.

Most came over as kitchen and catering assistants (3,035), as waiters or waitresses (2,745), or as maids or room attendants (1,745). Bar staff accounted for 3% of all job placements between July and September.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the BHA, said that the new immigrants were helping to fill some jobs. "But the numbers are not that great and are not filling the 100,000 vacancies," he said. "We need the other schemes to continue."

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 18 November 2004

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