Italians say ‘Arrivederci’ to London

Italian waiters say goodbye

Italian waiters say goodbye Photo: Shutterstock / Frau aus

Italian waiters are leaving the UK in droves leaving the nation’s restaurants with a serious staff problem, reported Italy’s La Reppublica.

It is a long goodbye, the one that Italians, and with them 26 other people of the European Union, have given to the United Kingdom. The first blow was Brexit, which came into force on January 1, 2021: no more freedom to come and live freely in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, look for a job, learn English.

And now there is a minimum wage cap: as of April 2024, the minimum salary required to obtain a visa for a first work experience in the UK increased by 40 per cent, from around €33,000 to around €45,000 per year.

This makes it virtually impossible to obtain a work visa for those who do not reach this figure. This higher threshold applies to many professions, including those traditionally considered unskilled, such as waiters, cooks and shop assistants.

The UK has always attracted many workers from all over the world, is becoming an increasingly difficult place to live and call home. Since April 1, legislation has come into force to clamp down on all those who want to live and work in the UK.

Stricter visas for foreigners

The country has introduced stricter rules on work visas for foreigners, with significant consequences for non-Britons without work permits. These measures will hit workers from abroad hard, including many young Europeans, including Italians, who were previously able to work in the UK without restrictions.

The sector that suffers the greatest backlash is hospitality. Italians, as well as many other Europeans, have traditionally found employment opportunities as chefs, waiters and shop assistants. Young Italian, Spanish, French and Polish bartenders and waiters, who are vital to the sector, are being particularly affected by these restrictions.

A young Italian with initiative, a desire to work and curiosity about the world until a few years ago could say “I’m off to London”. Now, Italy has lost many opportunities for its young people that are instead granted – through temporary work visas – to young people under 30 from Japan or even from San Marino, provided they are outside the European Union.

Perhaps Giorgia Meloni, who is close friends with Sunak and shares his anti-migratory policies, should say a few words to the British Prime Minister in defence of young Italians.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.