Tougher Immigration Laws Pose Threat to UK Curry Houses
More curry houses across the UK could be forced to shut because new immigration laws may lead to a shortage of chefs, according to an industry leader.
A revision in immigration law has raised the required salary for those coming into the UK from outside the EU to £29,570 after their food and accommodations costs have been deducted. The law also prevents them from working at restaurants which offer a take away service.
Many curry house owners cannot afford to pay this level of wage as well as most of them having to offer a take away service to remain competitive. This could lead to many small establishments going out of business without having the right staff at the right price.
It’s estimated that around 600 curry houses have closed in the UK in the last 18 months due to the problems they have had in recruiting skilled staff. There are concerns that more may also be forced to close their doors.
Founder of British Curry Awards Enam Ali is calling on the government to introduce a new one-year UK visa where restaurants can sponsor new talent.
He has written to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the Business Secretary and employment minister Priti Patel, in a 75-page document, stating details of the proposed visa and why it is important to curry restaurants in the UK.
It says: “We propose a tightly controlled, temporary work visa scheme where expert chefs from outside the EU are allowed to enter the UK on very strict employment terms. These terms would limit their employment to a maximum of one-year with no right of return, no chance of residency or out-of-work benefits.”
A Home Office spokes person said they were committed to encouraging home grown talent and that the industry should offer training to attract resident workers to meet staffing needs.