Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on the government to put in place a migration system flexible enough for the food and hospitality sector.
Speaking at the Asian Curry Awards this evening at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel, he said: "Unfortunately, however, I believe our government doesn't always fully appreciate all the benefits that businesses like these deliver for our society.
"If they did, they wouldn't have adopted such a wrongheaded approach to immigration that has made it so difficult for businesses to recruit the chefs and skilled workers they urgently need."
He added: "That's why I'm calling on the government to put in place – as a matter of priority – a migration system that is flexible enough to ensure we can fill key jobs in our food and hospitality sectors. Because the last thing we should be doing is clipping the wings of businesses like these, which deserve our backing and support."
Around 1,000 guests attended the glittering gala dinner to honour the winners of the Asian Curry Awards, organised by the Asian Catering Federation (ACF) and hosted by comedian Cally Beaton.
Winners included Benares in London's Mayfair, which scooped the Fine Dining Award, and Dishoom in Covent Garden was named Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year. Meanwhile, the awards' longstanding chairman of judges Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.