Curry restaurants shut as immigration rules keep out chefs

Article by Asya Chaudhry and Ameera Nosheen 26.4.16

Around 600 curry houses have shut in 18 months, with fears that a third of the industry could close

The prime minister had pledged to protect the struggling £4.2bn curry industry, which employs 100,000 people, at the British Curry awards in 2013. He said he would “get the skilled Asian chefs you need” to the UK, while the home secretary, Theresa May, has admitted that curry chefs are a shortage occupation.

This shortage has been caused by increasingly tough immigration rules, so that restaurants are unable to hire the skilled chefs they need. This makes it difficult for these businesses to grow, while restaurants are unable to provide adequate customer service levels or fulfil orders.

Around 600 curry restaurants have closed in the past 18 months, while there are fears that a further 4,000 – about a third of the industry – could shut.

The shortage of chefs means they demand increasingly high wages.

Bringing over a highly trained chef from Asia adds authenticity to the cuisine and inspires the other staff.

Fountain Solicitors are pushing the government to ease immigration restrictions.

Current immigration rules stipulate that a chef from outside the UK must be paid £29,570, after deductions for accommodation and meals, which is too expensive for most curry restaurants. Moreover, the jobs cannot be in a restaurant with a takeaway service, which most curry houses rely upon.

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