Hiring hospitality workers from Europe

Hi, my name Is Saverio. I am a restaurant Manager in Edinburgh.

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to hire waiting staff from Europe... even for short term?

  • Hi Saverio, Only if they already have the right to work in the UK (for example students from overseas who are studying in the UK, will often have the right to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time), or you can sponsor them (but it is unlikely that they will meet the skilled worker criteria)
  • HI Teresa .Could you tell me if student who are studying English course in a UK college they have the right to work 20 hours a week? thank you
  • In reply to Saverio Cortese:

    Hi - They should be if they are on a student visa. If they do have the right to work, they should be able to give you a share code that you can check on the .Gov website www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work
    If the individual doesn't have a British Passport or other visa, you would need keep a copy of the print out from the website as evidence that they have the right to work.
  • In reply to Teresa:

    Hi, not all students are eligible to work 20 hours per week. Students who are studying for a qualification below degree leve, e.g. foundation or pre-sessional English Language programmes can only work for 10 hours per week during term time and you need to know what the term time dates are - that is, they need to be included in your right to work check documents on file. You could approach the College yourself to ask them what they tell their overseas students (if it's not on their web page) and then you would know excatly what to offer students from that particular College. All education institutes are very careful about managing working hours for students because of the impact on their licence if a student breaches the hours.
  • Hi Helen could you provide links to check all the information that you kindly sent to me ? thanks again Saverio
  • In reply to Saverio Cortese:

    Hi Saverio, to be honest, it will depend on where your students are studying.

    I found information at this link https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Working/Student-work (UK Council for International Student Student Affairs) which may give you an overview of what international students are able to do. 

    If you look at page 91 of this lengthy document (on the Govt Website) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/655494d850475b000dc5b5e8/Student_and_Child_Student.pdf it will tell you the maximum hours that can be worked depending on the qualification the student is undertaking. 

    All Universities (and probably Colleges) should have a note of their academic year on their website - here's a link to ours as an example https://www.hw.ac.uk/study/apply/uk/academic-calendar.htm but you really need to be asking the students when you interview them to provide their term time dates, and hold that on file with the right to work checks to demonstrate that they are not in breach of their visa.

    When you carry out a right to work check (which you need to do via an online share code) it will tell you if there are any restrictions on the visa, for example "Restricted to 20 hours per work outside termtime". To make it more complicated, Post-Graduate Research Students don't have "terms" - they study all year and have a number of weeks when they can take holiday from their study (where I work it is 6 weeks) and they are then allowed to work full time provided you as the employer have a note from the student's supervisor which says they are "on holiday" from their studies. 

    You should also ask them if they are already working elsewhere as they can only work 20 hours per week across a range of jobs, not 20 hours in each.

    Information about carrying out a Right to Work Check is on theGovt website here https://www.gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work

    You need to be rigorous in carrying out your right to work checks for everyone, but particularly students. The fines for illegal working have now increased and can be as much as £60k per illegal worker! https://www.gov.uk/penalties-for-employing-illegal-workers

    Finally, if it is helpful, here are links to 2 documents on our own website explaining student work restrictions and a declaration form we ask students to complete before we offer them casual work



    Sorry if I sound overly pessimistic. I work in a University (albeit my role covers staff visas not students per se - except when they are engaged to work) and we have to be so very careful to ensure all our international staff, casual workers and students are fully aware of the restrictions on their visas, that I go into overdrive when asked about it! 

    Hope this is helpful. 


  • thank you Helen . its seems a Crazy route ...but i can see Is very difficult and almost impossible to hire european workers. By the way Ive really appreciated your help and dedication. I Hope something Will change in the future. GrinGrinGrin
  • In reply to Saverio Cortese:

    Hi Saverio, it's not impossible to hire European workers, just harder than it was! Students on visas can be very useful temporary additions but you just have to have a robust and rigorous reporting and filing system to make sure you follow the rules on restricted hours. But I agree it's administratively tiresome (the risks of not doing it are high though, both for you and the student).