Home News > October 2023 > Somms to be eligible for skilled worker visa

Somms to be eligible for skilled worker visa

Following a review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), sommeliers have been reclassified to be eligible for the skilled worker visa route.

As a result, The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is set to provide a new route for sommeliers as the hospitality industry looks to fill approximately 700 vacancies.

Charlotte Wills, a partner at Fragomen, a leading provider of immigration services, said: “The hospitality industry will welcome the ability of sommeliers to enter under the Skilled Worker route making it easier, to an extent, for businesses in the sector to recruit overseas talent to fill the sommelier vacancies.

“Sommeliers had previously not been considered for the UK’s skilled visa route and while the MAC has suggested a restriction on those with less than three years’ experience, the inclusion now recognises the skilled nature of the job. It now provides a pathway to utilise the skilled worker route for a role recognised to be in shortage.”

However, UKHospitality has urged the government to implement the recommendation from MAC to expand the Youth Mobility Scheme to more countries.

The call comes as the MAC did not recommend chefs, or other hospitality roles, to be included on the Shortage Occupation List in its latest review, despite reclassifying sommeliers to be eligible for the skilled worker visa route.

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “Expanding the Youth Mobility Scheme has been a long-standing ask to help the sector recruit and I’m pleased the Migration Advisory Committee continue to make this recommendation.

“The pandemic significantly exacerbated chef shortages by wiping out two years worth of newly trained chefs and this should have been taken into account. The Shortage Occupation List is specifically designed to bridge gaps caused by a shortage, which is why we asked for a temporary addition. “The Committee’s refusal to add more hospitality roles to the Shortage Occupation List is holding the sector back from reaching its full potential of creating even more jobs and driving economic growth.”