UK curry industry slams ‘immigration betrayal'

07 November 2016 by
UK curry industry slams ‘immigration betrayal'

The UK curry industry has slammed government "backtracking" on plans to relax visa restrictions for south Asian chefs post-Brexit.

Curry houses and unions, such as the Bangladesh Caterers Association, supported Britain's exit from the EU after the Leave campaign promised a points-based system of immigration that would make more visas available to south Asian chefs.

However, Theresa May has since ruled out a points-based system, and the government has committed to reducing net migration down below 100,000 a year.
Immigration minister Robert Goodwill suggested in parliament this week that instead of easing migration restrictions, more British people should be trained as curry chefs.

He said: "I lay down a challenge to the restaurateurs in our country to train our own people, because we have tremendously talented people in the UK who would love to train and work in that environment. We do not always need to bring people across from the sub-continent."

The sector, worth £4b a year, has been struggling due to a shortage of chefs. Since April, restaurants that want to employ a chef from outside the EU have had to pay a minimum salary of £35,000, or £29,750 with accommodation and food, in order for their employees to qualify for UK visas.

Enam Ali, founder of the British Curry Awards and Le Raj restaurant in Surrey, said: "People who voted Leave feel let down because they were promised a relaxation of the untenable immigration laws that have been applied to chefs and skilled workers from outside the EU. Many curry houses are fighting for survival, because they cannot get the workers they need. They are further concerned because the weaker pound means that key ingredients, raw materials and produce that are required has already nearly doubled in prices."

Crisis talks for curry houses as immigration restrictions continue to take their toll >>

British Bangladeshi's restaurateurs reject ‘down market' cuisine claims >>

Nail in the coffin of the curry restaurant >>

Latest video from The Caterer

Are you looking for a new role? See all the current hospitality vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking