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Pret A Manger to create 550 new UK jobs | Immigration Matters

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Pret A Manger, the highly successful sandwich and coffee chain, plans to create 550 extra jobs in the UK – including taking on more homeless people as apprentices, the Daily Mail reports.

Pret A Manger to create 550 new UK jobs

The popular chain, which opened in London in 1986 and now employs some 5,000 in this country, has pledged to open 24 more sites here and 20 overseas.

The firm, which gained huge public support for giving its leftover food to homeless charities, now plans to recruit homeless people as apprentices this year, and also launch a drive to attract more school leavers.

Chief executive Clive Schlee said: ‘Pret plans to expand the Pret apprenticeship scheme for the homeless and increase the number of apprentices to 70 this year.

‘The scheme offers an opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness by providing the most valuable gift of all – a paid job in a lively social environment.’

Pret came under fire for its recruitment policies last year after Employment Minister Chris Grayling said it was ‘unacceptable’ for fast food chains to employ all-foreign staff at a time when British workers were losing their jobs.

Questioned on TV over why one branch appeared to be staffed entirely by foreigners, Mr Grayling said he wanted British-born workers to be given a chance instead.

But Pret said that it was ‘proud of the fact that our jobs are open to everyone legally able to work in the UK, no matter what their background’.

The Pret A Manger website says:

‘We employ many different nationalities and value the cosmopolitan feel this gives the company.’

Pret has opened two stores in Paris this year, and Mr Schlee commented today that Parisians ate fewer crisps than people in the UK but were fond of puddings, cakes and cookies.

He plans to open two more shops in the French capital, as well as the first Pret in Boston in the U.S.

The group, which is mainly owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, said sales rose 15 per cent to £377.3million while underlying profits were up 14 per cent to £52.4million in the year to December 29.

Pret hailed 2011 as a year of strong revenue and profit growth during which the firm built a record number of new stores in the UK and internationally.

The company revealed last year it was looking for expansion on two fronts – first into UK market towns and local High Streets and second into international markets.

It has been testing the firm’s suitability for international expansion, to see if it could become one of only a handful of genuinely global fast food brands.

The company is known for paying its staff above the minimum wage, promoting from the shop floor and providing flexible hours. Source: Daily Mail.

On the job vacancy page Pret A Manger outline the pay scale:

‘We pay our people as much as we can afford, rather than as little as we can get away with. We invest in, train and develop our people . Our starting salary is £7.25 an hour in London (after 10 days, including bonus). Many get over £8 an hour and more. The average salary (including bonuses) for General Managers is £36,650 pa and Assistant Managers is £27,150 pa.’

Staff wear jeans and are invited to a twice yearly ‘massive party’.

Pret staff are always friendly and upbeat and the service is excellent.

There are a number of vacancies listed, mainly for Central London, and applicants can apply online.

Majestic College, which helps Romanian and Bulgarian students study on vocational work based course in the UK called the Pret A Manger recruitment office in London to find out if they would offer jobs to their students.

When asked about whether they offered jobs to Romanian and Bulgarian students, the Pret recruitment officer said:

‘Only if they have blue or yellow cards’.

Majestic asked if they would offer a job subject to yellow card approval, that is while the student was waiting for UKBA approval, the person said:

‘No, we will not sponsor the yellow card, they have to have it when they apply’.

Not very helpful to a Romanian student who needs a job offer for a vocational course before they can apply for a yellow card!

When he was Prime Minister, Gordon Brown famously announced that he wanted ‘British jobs for British people’, but never explained how an employer is supposed to advertise a post for a ‘British worker only’.

With the myriad of employment and EU Laws tying businesses up in knots, an employer would be dragged through the courts in shame if he or she told a prospective job seeker: ‘sorry, I cannot employ you because we have been told to only take on British born workers’.

Employers are required to follow strict employment law, ‘Equal Opportunity’ rules, as well as adhering to Labour’s Equality and Diversity Act.

EU workers from countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania have come to the UK in large numbers because they know they can easily find work because many British born do not want to take minimum wage jobs or jobs which require unsocial hours.

Bulgaria, along with Romania, joined the European Union in 2007, however, the UK government and other European governments imposed limits on working the newest members of the EU. See: Free Movement of EU nationals explained.

Whilst they are free to move around Europe without a visa, they can only work in the UK as employed persons with special permission. This restriction on employment in the UK was extended last year by the  Immigration Minister Damian Green until January 2014.

Bulgarians and Romanians are allowed to set up a business, apply for a work permit, study (Yellow Card scheme) or reside in the UK as a ‘self sufficient’ person, provided they can prove they have enough funds to support themselves.

See also:

500,000 new UK job opportunities for young people

Immigration Rule changes to Tier 2 working visas

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

How Romanians and Bulgarians working illegally without Yellow Card or papers can legalise their status in the UK

Immigrant skilled workers ‘essential to London economy’

Yellow or Blue Card Refused – Appeal or Reapply?

7 tips for completing a Yellow Card BR1 application to work and study in the UK

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

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9 Responses to “Pret A Manger to create 550 new UK jobs”
Read them below or add one

  1. Good advertisement for Pret! No wonder the food and service is so good there.

  2. Alex M. says :

    Pret is a complicated word witch no every one can understand,
    under sandwiches and coffee there is a lot of training, brainwashing, stress and numbers…
    We love numbers, we live for numbers.
    Sometimes you just think is such a waste of time, and on the other hand your’re really proud of yourself when you see your result at the end of the day and everything is going (almost) fine.
    I’m Italian, 30 years old. Working for Pret for two years and six months…at the moment kitchen manager…
    Well, I passed those two years woking up at 3:30 in the morning to being at work before 5 ò clock…
    My first team was almost full Polish (apart from two Hungarians), they’re running like crazy…all day long.
    Really bad experience with Brits…A lot of leavers after two days…weeks…asking why we start so earlier…
    Well…is a complicated world. Freshly handmade. Every morning.
    All day long. No compromises. Highest standards ever…that’s the reason because we start in the middle of the night.
    We are amazing in the costumer service, and that’s the reason because everyone is coming on Pret looks like have the right to complain and shout or getting rude in the front of our team, happen everyday…and always we reply with a big smile and free lunch, or coffee…
    Just in Pret…after the same person is going to Tesco or Morrison or Waitrose or Subway or Mc Donald or whatever and is getting treated like a piece of s**t but there is fine.
    Ah yes, i forgot…we’re more expansive than everyone…

  3. You expect them to call you in Spain?

  4. iordache adrian says :

    Hello I am interested for this job. 20 years I do not speak English language spoken Spanish mi number is 07423612909

  5. Interesting. What a performance to get a job serving coffee and sandwiches! And they get lots of free labour. No wonder they are making a fortune.
    On your last point, whilst it is impossible to prove, it does seem that many of these coffee places are staffed by many people of the same nationality. For instance, I know a Costa Coffee place which has been staffed almost exclusively by Polish girls since it opened 4 years ago. It’s the same story at most motorway service station Costas.
    Employers should be aware of this so that there is a mix of staff.
    On the other hand, many employers complain that young Brits simply don’t want to work unless it’s a 9-5 easy job.

  6. Mr A Pestell says :

    A very interesting article although i am not convinced that Pret A Manger are serious about tackling the issue raised by the former UK Employment Minister (Mr Grayling) now Mark Hoban MP.

    Allow me to elaborate and draw upon my daughters first hand experience of this issue. Excited at the prospect of working in the food industry and having recently left school with a A level pass in food technology, my daughter was very upbeat when she came across the Pret’s School Leavers Programme.

    As a hardworking and sociable school leaver with the passion to take forward a career in the food and retail industry she submitted her on line application with confidence and enthusiasm.

    It was not long before her application was sifted out (as part of a strict evaluation criteria) from the many other candidates that applied.

    The next stage of the recruitment process was a telephone interview which went extremely well; so well she was then invited to attend a 3 hour Assessment Centre in London – our understanding is that the Assessment Centre is an additional process as part of the new School Leavers Programme.

    Like all other stages in the recruitment process the Assessment Centre went extremely well and the feedback was very positive resulting in her being invited to attend the final stage before being selected as an employee – this is whats called the ‘Experience Day’ and what an experience it was!

    The ‘Experience Day’ is meant to provide you with the opportunity to work as part of the team in a shop for a whole day. “You get to check us out and we get to check you out. At the end of the day, each member of the team tells the manager whether they think you’d be a good fit at Pret and the manager tells you there and then whether you’ve been successful”. Essentially the ‘team’ have the casting vote on your employment with Pret Manger.

    My daughter attended the ‘Experience Day’ in London starting work at 7:00am and she worked with the team until 12:30 midday.

    One now has to question if it came as a surprise when the entire team (staffed entirely by for foreign workers i might add) all voted against her and hence her opportunity for employment with Pret Manger was rejected based on they’re casting vote!

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