or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Working in Europe and have Visa questions.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Working in Europe and have Visa questions.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A few months ago I got an opportunity to come to Copenhagen and work for the former creative chef at Noma at a new Claus Meyer restaurant just across the harbor from Noma. So far it's been an awesome experience I've learned an insane amount and have finally become respected by everyone else at work. I work on the meat station and plate every semi, middle and main course in the pass right next to the head chef himself during service. It's insane. I don't get paid (no problem) I work eighty hours a week (fine) I'm a part of a brand new team at a place that may very well be the next big thing. Unfortunately I've been confronted with a dilemma. Noma was raided by immigration inspectors and they sent home fifteen chefs just like myself working (even chef de parties) who only held travel visas. I don't have a work visa (not getting paid). An intern visa is difficult because the office wants my internship at the restaurant to be associated with a former schooling or study from my country of origin. I haven't attended culinary school. If anyone has any ideas let me know, thanks.
post #2 of 11
To be blunt what your doing isnt legal. I think, but am not sure, that Denmark is a lot like Sweden in its imagration policies, abet a bit more strict, in that you need to apply for a student or work visa from your home country before you come. Honestly if Noma was employing 15 people for little or no pay they without proper work or student visas then they should be asshamed of themselves. I am well aware of the cost of employeing people in this neck of the woods and while it is expenssive to employee someone here it is downright unfair, abussive and illeagal to do so. This is my view as a restaurant owner and employeer. 15 illegals in one restaurant, who were they paying? I understand your here to learn, you just need to do it the proper way. I can assure you Scandinavians are sticklers for the rules, even if some restauranraurs arent.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagom View Post

To be blunt what your doing isnt legal. I think, but am not sure, that Denmark is a lot like Sweden in its imagration policies, abet a bit more strict, in that you need to apply for a student or work visa from your home country before you come. Honestly if Noma was employing 15 people for little or no pay they without proper work or student visas then they should be asshamed of themselves. I am well aware of the cost of employeing people in this neck of the woods and while it is expenssive to employee someone here it is downright unfair, abussive and illeagal to do so. This is my view as a restaurant owner and employeer. 15 illegals in one restaurant, who were they paying? I understand your here to learn, you just need to do it the proper way. I can assure you Scandinavians are sticklers for the rules, even if some restauranraurs arent.

In response to your not so constructive reply..

I attribute the situation that I am currently in to the constant wishy washy "it should be fine" Scandinavian attitude. I did loads of research and asked many questions before arriving. The response from the Danish contact that I had was always, "just get here, bring your knives and your focus and we will figure it out!" I was under the impression that upon my arrival I would be given a contract to take to immigration services in order to file all of my residence/ work visa paperwork.

On a different note, there is a long lived tradition that is shared throughout many "top shelf" kitchens across the world. Many large restaurants known for their insane food rely on hosting "stagiaires" in order to be able to achieve such perfect, consistent quality products that take many many hours to produce. A stage is essentially an agreement between a young chef and a kitchen whom exchange labor for an enriching learning experience. It's a quite common thing but it is a very traditional thing that doesn't really do things completely by law. It's never really been an issue until the age that we are in now where you have "super restaurants" that have up to twenty stagiaires at a time. This began to stir attention.

I've been blessed to work for free along side some of the chefs that I've worked with and seen the kitchens that I've seen.

No part of me is trying to break the law . I work with chefs and restaurateurs that are truly in love with food. That's where I wish to stay. I've spent enough time in kitchens with owners that are worried about where they can save their next dollar. Hosting stagiaires isn't about saving money. It's about being able to practically afford offering a product that very few other restaurants in the world can offer, while passing on ideas about food and techniques that are so beyond any culinary school experience.
post #4 of 11
Immigration laws all over Europe have been tightened immeasurably over recent years.

Foreigners should never take the word of someone about visas. At best they may be mistaken re immigration law, at worst? They are getting you to break laws, which could mean a ban from certain countries of up to 10 years.

I hope you resolve your problems.
post #5 of 11

Like stated what you are doing is illegal. You could be deported , things like this could cause major consequences when you wish to travel again ( even if legally in the future ). 

 

Just one question how long have you been there. 

 

Most European countries offer 3 month tourist visas upon arrival. Sure working in restaurants is still illegal but at least when a cop orders you to take out you passport in the middle of the sidewalk  , you can prove you are their legally. 

In your case if you have been there for awhile i would watch your back and talk to your boss now. Because a situation like yours will bring major consequences. 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 11/5/13 at 7:22pm

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've been here for two months I have a three month travelers visa
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiqueKuisine View Post

Like stated what you are doing is illegal. You could be deported , things like this could cause major consequences when you wish to travel again ( even if legally in the future ). 

Just one question how long have you been there. 

Most European countries offer 3 month tourist visas upon arrival. Sure working in restaurants is still illegal but at least when a cop orders you to take out you passport int he middle of the sidewalk  , you can prove you are their legally. 
In your case if you have been there for awhile i would watch your back and talk to your boss now. Because a situation like yours will bring major consequences. 
I am not in the country illegally
post #8 of 11

Having traveled somewhat extensively in Europe and the Middle East, let me assure you that a great majority of countries, unlike the
USA, enforce their immigration rules rather vigorously!

 

You may be in the country legally, however, I have serious question as to whether you are legally working in the country. Two entirely separate matters.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

Having traveled somewhat extensively in Europe and the Middle East, let me assure you that a great majority of countries, unlike the

USA, enforce their immigration rules rather vigorously!

You may be in the country legally, however, I have serious question as to whether you are legally working in the country. Two entirely separate matters.

Just to re state (unless I forgot to mention) I'm no longer working. The chef gave me funds to figure out a visa situation that will allow me to get back in the restaurant and work. Thanks
post #10 of 11

My experience is from Italy. It has reached a point where it is near impossible to obtain a work visa or even a visa to do an internship. As the economy went sour in most of the countries, they tightened the strings on workers. This is especially true of the restaurant industry as it isn't viewed as a specialized skill like being a doctor. While in Italy, 9/10 restaurants turned me away and that came with being vouched for by very well known Italians. The 1/10 restaurants that did accept me were very rural and allowed me to wear chef whites or were in a city and I was only allowed in the kitchen in street clothes and had to work off the radar in case issues arose.

 

My father-in-law is an immigration attorney and he can't pull strings to get me a work visa to continue to pursue employment in Italy. I haven't given up, but its not the same to work in a place undocumented as it is to work legally and be comfortable. The recommendation I have received from most is to pursue work on the travel visa, after three months, leave for a day and then return to extend the travel visa for another three months. I know this isn't the answer you are looking for because it still isn't legal, but I haven't had much look in my hunt to continue working outside of the US.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepsouthNYC View Post

My experience is from Italy. It has reached a point where it is near impossible to obtain a work visa or even a visa to do an internship. As the economy went sour in most of the countries, they tightened the strings on workers. This is especially true of the restaurant industry as it isn't viewed as a specialized skill like being a doctor. While in Italy, 9/10 restaurants turned me away and that came with being vouched for by very well known Italians. The 1/10 restaurants that did accept me were very rural and allowed me to wear chef whites or were in a city and I was only allowed in the kitchen in street clothes and had to work off the radar in case issues arose.

My father-in-law is an immigration attorney and he can't pull strings to get me a work visa to continue to pursue employment in Italy. I haven't given up, but its not the same to work in a place undocumented as it is to work legally and be comfortable. The recommendation I have received from most is to pursue work on the travel visa, after three months, leave for a day and then return to extend the travel visa for another three months. I know this isn't the answer you are looking for because it still isn't legal, but I haven't had much look in my hunt to continue working outside of the US.

Thanks for the reply, I wish you luck my friend!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Working in Europe and have Visa questions.