The UK faces a curry house staffing crisis if the Government does not ease restrictions on Bangladeshi migrant workers, experts have warned.
The Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) said that 27,500 extra workers were required to keep the UK's 9,000-plus curry restaurants working.
But the Government's points based immigration system for controlled migration to the UK by non-EU citizens is creating a shortfall, it warned. The system favours highly skilled migrants who can fill gaps in the labour market.
Keith Best, chief executive of IAS, said: "Despite many meetings with the immigration minister [Liam Byrne] who states that he understands the plight of this important industry to the UK nothing is being done to improve the situation.
"The Government thinks that the vacancies in the curry industry can be filled by eastern Europeans who have no cultural sensitivity towards or understanding of the curry industry," he added.
Best has written to Byrne, asking for the rules to be relaxed for catering workers from Bangladesh, but added that "the time for talking had failed".
Enam Ali, chairman of the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs, told Caterer last year that the introduction of a points based system had "hammered the first nail into the coffin of the UK's curry restaurant sector".
By Christopher Walton
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