Blog: Felipe’s experience of being in hospitality and from the EU post Brexit – Hospitality & Catering News

The objective of H&C News on twitter is to engage, not just broadcast our news columns through another channel, but to embrace two way communication which often leads to interesting exchanges.

Much of our activity on twitter recently has focused on our petition to Parliament asking The Government to: “Ease immigration restrictions on EU nationals and other migrant workers with experience of working in the UK hospitality industry, at least temporarily, immediately. This could be achieved by creating a new hospitality visa, or exempting non-UK nationals with relevant experience from immigration requirements.” (While you are here, please click through and sign it.)

Thankfully the tweeting around the petition has led to many more signatures taking us one step closer at a time to the objective of a debate in Parliament to address the request. It can be done as Claire Bosi, Editor of CHEF & Restaurant magazine discovered with her petition to request a Minister for Hospitality.

Twitter as already stated is a two way channel, you post something, someone else can reply, and engagement follows. Some of the replies we receive to the campaign are from what I would describe as people disgruntled with hospitality. Many who have previously, or are currently in hospitality and see the industry as employers seeking cheap labour with little regard for the wellbeing of employees. If you take a look at some of the more liked, re-tweeted, quote tweeted tweet posts on our page you will very quickly see what I refer to.

Occasionally exchanges lead to articles, someone has a story to tell, a view on a subject or a piece of news that fits our editorial policy. One such example led to the article below. It stemmed from the petition campaign, we engaged in a series of tweet replies, and then we arranged to talk on the phone.

I spoke with Felipe and listened to his story, how he came to England and celebrated being part of a hospitality industry that enabled him to thrive. He them explained how things changed after Brexit. He kindly wrote me a letter after the call, and I have published it below as received. It provides insight to the damage done to hospitality through Brexit.

Felipe G.R. ( Spanish  / 41 years old )

I came to Liverpool in 2003, just a few days after my 23rd birthday, aimed to improve my poor English. With previous experience working in hospitality in Spain I found a job in a restaurant very quickly and with no much difficulty.

I remember those years. It was great. I met many people of my generation from many different countries and cultures. The EU idea that we were all equals wherever the country you came from was fantastic. We all enriched from that multi-cultural society and open-minded ideals.

Moved to London in 2008 I worked at Maze by Gordon Ramsay when the restaurant was named UK best by Restaurant Magazine. I got a degree in Hospitality Management at the Westminster Kingsway College (2010-2013). Big achievements for me at the time.

Back in the North West in 2014 I carried my progress to management positions in places like Panoramic 34, Liverpool F.C., Peckforton Castle or The Art School restaurant. I am grateful to this country; I have to.

But Brexit put an end to that cooperation, solidarity and human equality feelings. Brexit for me is a Human Disgrace. All the campaign was based in fake news and lies. How could British society accept the results of that scam?

I believe that this interview between a Brits journalist and a EU citizen-Hospitality professional should have been done 5 years ago. British forgot to ask us what our opinion was about Brexit. Well, they forgot or simply did not care about our feelings. It may, perhaps, be a mix of both.

As many other hundreds of thousands of EU citizens living for many years in the UK I have contributed to the wealth of this country by working and paying my taxes, and also by investing on buying a property. Brexit left us with no voice; we were excluded of any participation on this political issue. I am sure that if these comments were published before the vote for Brexit many British would have thought twice before giving the support for the UK to exiting the EU.

According to an article from Spanish leading newspaper El Pais a Spanish lady (25), who had previously worked in hospitality in Manchester, was arrested at the Gatwick airport, locked in an immigration centre in Bedfordshire for 2 weeks and is going to be sent back to Spain soon. There are several similar cases.

She just came back from Spain after the pandemic to look for work again. That is the profile of people who is needed in the UK. If this is the way EU citizens are going to be treated here from now on, how do you expect to fill all those hospitality positions currently available? How am I going to recommend a EU citizen to come to the UK and follow my steps? The conditions are very different now.

Watching at the current UK government and its practices I lost my hopes that the UK will flourish again in the short or medium term. My future plans are to sell my house, come back to Spain and open my own business. Could I have opened a business in the UK? Yes, of course. But right now I do not feel I will be treated like any other British but as any other immigrant.

George Orwell cited in his book Animal Farm something like “All people are equals, but some people are more equals than others”. For me that is the Brexit message; All citizens in the UK are equals but British are more equals than the others.

* Reference  EL PAIS – https://english.elpais.com/brexit/2021-05-17/the-dark-side-of-brexit-european-citizens-being-detained-in-migrant-holding-centers-in-uk.html

Thank you Felipe

 

News from the hospitality and catering industry is also being featured extensively in our Facebook and twitter social media accounts with the opportunity to engage with others in hospitality and share your views.

Hospitality & Catering News: Felipe’s experience of being in hospitality and from the EU post Brexit. – 6 June 2021 – Felipe’s experience of being in hospitality and from the EU post Brexit.

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