Curry industry chiefs urge Cameron to relax immigration rules

Posted On: 
23rd April 2016

Leaders of Britain's £4.2bn Indian restaurant industry are urging the Government to relax tough rules on non-EU immigration which they say are pushing businesses into crisis.

Around 600 restaurants have closed in the last 18 months in an industry which employs 100,000 people in the UK. 

Restaurateurs looking to recruit a chef from outside the EU will have to pay them a salary of £35,000, or just over £29,000 plus food and accomodation. 

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The Guardian reports that the founder of the British Curry Awards, Enam Ali, has now sent a 75-page document to the Prime Minister and ministers Theresa May, Sajid Javid and Priti Patel.

Mr Ali is calling for a new one-year visa for chefs from southern Asia to work in British restaurants.

“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," the letter reads.

"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."

But a Home Office spokesperson said the restaurant industry should be looking to recruit more homegrown staff. 

“The industry is starting to make progress in this area, recruiting and training more chefs in the UK, and this needs to continue," the spokesperson said.