The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has granted a lifeline to hospitality companies by removing a clause preventing pubs, restaurants and hotels employing non-European Union chefs if they also provide a takeaway service.

The clause has been removed from the MAC’s recommendations on the shortage occupation list (SOL).

The SOL lets non-EU staff to work in the UK in roles where there is a labour shortage.

The committee said the measure was in recognition of the changing nature of the hospitality sector and with the aim of future-proofing.

UKHospitality (UKH) has highlighted the UK’s chef shortage to the MAC. Chefs are ranked “fairly highly” on the shortage list with an above average level of vacancies.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKH, said removing the punitive takeaway clause was a positive step and one the organisation called for earlier this year.

“This reflects the increasingly diverse nature of the UK’s culinary sector and the move to more app-based deliveries. It also helps restaurants that have recently struggled to fill vacancies, particularly those offering authentic Indian, Bangladeshi and Chinese food, among others.”

The MAC needed to go further, however and abolish the salary threshold which limited the sector’s ability to deal with staffing shortages.

“Any future immigration policy needs to be fit for purpose, beneficial to the UK economy, and allow our sector to grow and thrive. We will be making these points to ministers and future leadership candidates in the coming weeks and months.”

MAC chair Alan Manning said today’s labour market was “very different” to the one the committee reviewed when the last SOL was published in 2013.

“Unemployment is lower and employers in various industries are facing difficulties in finding skilled people to fill their vacancies,” Prof Manning said.

However, the recommendations were only applicable under the current immigration system, while EU free movement remained.

“We are recommending a full review of the SOL once there is a clearer picture of what the future immigration system will look like.