Wanted: Hospo Staff Enticed to Australia with Flights, Visas & Vouchers

Diners relaxing next to Sydney harbour.

© Shutterstock


Diners relaxing next to Sydney harbour.

© Shutterstock

It sounds like a dream job for hospitality workers in the wintery northern hemisphere...Australia is so short of staff that some companies are offering generous, all expenses paid relocation packages to attract chefs and waiting staff from overseas.

Australia, like neighbouring New Zealand, largely shut itself off from the rest of the world during the Covid pandemic, with many foreign workers leaving the country or unable to enter because of strict quarantine rules that banned non-citizens or residents.

"The staffing issue is impossible," celebrity chef and founder of Rockpool Group Neil Perry told the BBC. "Right now, this is the worst I have ever seen the labour shortage in the industry, ever, by some considerable amount."

Australian Venue Co., one of biggest pub groups in Australia, is even trying to lure chefs from UK, France and Spain in time for the busy summer season with generous relocation packages. On its website, it is offering to pay for flights to Australia, hotel quarantine if needed, two weeks of supported accommodation, financial help with visa costs and a A$1,000 welcome voucher.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, New Zealand is also grappling with labour shortages in areas from agriculture and viticulture to hospitality. Stuff reported that dairy farmers are calling on the Government to let in 1,500 foreign workers to meet the sector’s shortfall next year, if borders remain closed.

There are also fears that there will not be enough vineyard workers for the 2022 harvest in New Zealand. Marisco Vineyards general manager Matt Mitchell told RNZ his Marlborough business had started looking for cellar hands, wine press operators and forklift drivers more than four months in advance.

Foreign winemaking staff, mainly from Europe, made up the bulk of its harvest teams prior to the Covid pandemic, he said. New Zealand's borders are still mainly shut to non citizens, although the country is moving this month to cut the time people must spend in managed quarantine to one week.