New UK immigration laws spelling doom for curry houses
January 9th, 2008
London, Jan 9 (ANI): The UKs strict new immigration laws are leaving Asian restaurants in unprecedented crisis, and are putting one of the countrys favourite foods at risk curry.
Enam Ali, the founder of the British Curry Awards and one of the UKs leading Asian businessmen, revealed that the new laws meant that Indian restaurant owners were being forced to take in unskilled chefs from Britain or the European Union, rather than getting skilled ones from the sub-continent.
He also warned that if the trend continues, the 3.2 billion pound industry could soon falter.
We are facing an unprecedented crisis that, if not resolved, could decimate our industry. Each year, our sector has to recruit several thousand new staff to work in our kitchens, the Scotsman quoted him, as saying.
Where once we were able to turn to the sub-continent to find talented chefs brought up with the spices and cooking methods that make a great curry, we now have to try to fill all the vacancies from within the EU countries.
We operate in a very competitive industry, and our customers expect consistent quality.
When our British customers go out for a curry meal, they want the full cultural experience. They want to have confidence that the people in the kitchen know what theyre doing and that the people serving them are fully conversant with all the dishes on the menu.
Most Europeans dont have a clue about the spices we use or the way we prepare dishes.
A spokesman for the Border and Immigration Service however defended the changes saying that there was no reason why curry houses in the UK could not recruit workers from other backgrounds for work that didnt required less skill.
The Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant trade has traditionally employed workers of Indian and Bangladeshi extraction. There appears to be no reason why it should not recruit workers from other backgrounds, particularly for lower-skilled positions that do not require specialist skills, he said.
To date, the sector has not provided evidence to show that it cannot recruit and train workers from the resident workforce to fill lower-skilled positions, he added. (ANI)