Carlton's iconic Brunetti restaurant has imported 20 foreign workers to help run the business at its new 400-seat venue.
Yuri Angele, co-owner of the 39-year-old ristorante, caffe, pasticceria, gelateria, and now pizzeria, said he had hand-picked a team of specialist Italian staff for the move from Faraday Street to Lygon Court on April 3.
It comes as the Federal Government vows to crack down on alleged rorting of section 457 visas, which allow businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers.
Mr Angele said he stood by his decision to hire 20 kitchen and front-of-house staff, including executive savoury chef Giuseppe Santoro, in Italy to help run Brunetti when it moves to its new venue in the former Borders site, in Lygon Court.
He said while he didn't advertise positions in Australia, the business "received applications all the time".
"But we've never been able to find a team that would be able to deliver the quality we wanted," he said.
We've never been able to find a team that would be able to deliver the quality we wanted.
"What we do is very specific and very Italian.
"People come here expecting to be in Italy, so we have to fill that expectation."