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Brexit: Michelin-star chef denied right to remain in UK

Kate Ng
Claude Bosi (right), head judge for the S.Pellegrino UK Ireland Young Chef final, with winner George Kataras: Rex Features

Renowned French chef Claude Bosi, who holds two Michelin stars and heads a top restaurant in London, has been refused permanent residence in the UK despite having lived in the country for 23 years.

Mr Bosi posted a letter from the Home Office informing him of their decision to refuse his application, which he made in October 2019.

Expressing his disappointment, Mr Bosi wrote on Instagram: “I have been in England for 23 years and today they have sent me this.

“I love Britain, I considered until today like home but they just told me after 23 years of tax [and] VAT paid I’m not welcome anymore.

He added a hashtag “#thankyoubrexit” and tagged Boris Johnson, asking: “Did I do something wrong?”

The rejection comes just a week before Brexit is to take place on 31 January.

Mr Bosi is the latest in a string of high-profile individuals within the UK restaurant industry who have had negative experiences when applying for the EU settlement scheme that launched in August 2019.

Under the scheme, EU citizens and their relatives, as well as individuals from the European Economic Area, must apply to confirm their immigration status so they can live and work in the UK after Brexit.

Polish chef Damian Wawrzyniak, who cooked for the royal family and at the London Olympics, was only granted “pre-settled status”, which expires after five years, after he applied in August.

In September 2019, restaurateur and First Dates star Fred Sirieix was asked to provide proof of five years’ continuous residence in the UK, despite his passport details showing he had lived in the UK for 27 years.

Mr Sirieix was contacted by the Home Office within 12 hours of tweeting about the request and told a mistake had been made.

He was emailed confirmation of settled status shortly after, reportedly prompting concerns that the Home Office was prioritising help for high profile EU nationals to mitigate negative publicity.

Richard Bertinet, a French baker who founded the Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School and was hailed as a “food champion” by the BBC in 2010, was also reportedly turned down for permanent settled status even though he has lived in the UK for 31 years.

Mr Bosi moved to the UK in his early twenties and quickly gained recognition for his work. Under his leadership, Overton Grange in Shropshire and his own restaurant, Hibiscus, won a Michelin star each.

He is now the chef-patron at Bibendum restaurant in Chelsea.

The Home Office said Mr Bosi’s application for permanent residence had not been successful because he “did not provide evidence that he satisfied all of the criteria under EU law.”

A spokesperson added: “Mr Bosi has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme. He made an application for a permanent residence card – something which EU citizens living in the UK are not required or encouraged to do.

“We have spoken to him to help him to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, which has already guaranteed the rights of over 2.5 million people.”

The Home Office said last week more than 2.45 million EU citizens had been approved for settlement via the scheme and there is still a backlog of more than 300,000 applications waiting to be processed.

Those who were not granted settled status may have been granted pre-settled status and would need to apply again for permanent leave to remain after five years.

Additional reporting by agencies

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