Date
28 March 2017
British curry-house owners find it hard to hire chefs from South Asia under the current EU immigration system. Photo: CBC News
British curry-house owners find it hard to hire chefs from South Asia under the current EU immigration system. Photo: CBC News

EU debate gets spicy as British curry-house owners back Brexit

Advocates of the country’s exit from the European Union have found support from the country’s curry restaurant owners.

That’s because these businessmen find it hard to hire curry chefs from Bangladesh and other South Asian countries under the current EU immigration system, leading to the industry’s slow decline, the Wall Street Journal reports.

About three to five curry houses across the country close every week because owners can’t find suitable local replacements to their South Asian chefs who have retired, says employment minister Priti Patel.

“It is manifestly unfair and unjust that curry houses and members of our diaspora communities face having to deal with a second-class immigration system while chefs from the EU can waltz into this country and straight into employment,” the newspaper quoted Patel as saying during a recent speech in London rallying support for “Brexit”.

According to current UK immigration rules, non-EU chefs must earn a minimum of 29,570 pounds (US$42,633) a year after deductions for meals and accommodations—thousands of pounds higher than the mean salary for a chef here—to secure a visa to enter Britain.

They also can’t work for a restaurant that offers takeout, must have five years of experience and can’t apply for the most junior chef positions, the Journal said.

In contrast, chefs from the EU don’t face such restrictions.

Patel  has joined former London Mayor Boris Johnson and other ministers lobbying for a Brexit in proposing an Australian-style, points-based immigration system that they say will “create fairness between EU citizens and others, including those from Commonwealth countries”.

Many in Britain’s 4-billion-pound curry industry is supporting the plan.

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