Jamie Oliver praises hardworking migrants

28 Aug 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK work permits and access to international labour has always been particularly important to the restaurant sector due to the mix of cultures and knowledge of local foods that overseas workers can bring.

But now celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has added to this with praise for the hardworking nature of many migrants.

Speaking to Good Housekeeping magazine, Oliver said that “our European immigrant friends” are “stronger” and “tougher” when it comes to working hard in a busy commercial kitchen.

He added: “If we didn't have any [European immigrants], all of my restaurants would close tomorrow. There wouldn't be any Brits to replace them.”

The comments come after a number of high street chains have stated that immigrant workers are essential to keeping business ticking over. Next claimed that it hired Polish workers because it was unable to find British employees to take on temporary summer jobs, while Tesco has also faced criticism over its employment practices.

Access to UK work permits and labour rights for newer European countries has been hotly debated in the run up to the 2015 General Elections. The coalition has pledged to cut net migration to the tens of thousands ahead of the election and reforms are already well underway with this end in mind.

However, the restaurant business is just one sector that has argued against this decision, stating that Britain needs better access to skilled workers from abroad in order to drive its economic recovery and maintain the diversity of culture and excellence in business that the country has become renowned for.