Prime minister David Cameron has said that he will tackle the challenges faced by the restaurant industry when it comes to accessing UK work permits to import skilled chefs to Britain from the Indian subcontinent.
Speaking at the British Curry Awards in London, Cameron said that he will work to solve the immigration problems surrounding access to chefs with strong skills in creating regional cuisine.
The prime minister stated: “Like any industry, this one faces its own specific challenges and I know that there have been questions on immigration and getting chefs with the necessary experience.
“I know this problem won't be fixed overnight - it requires long-term commitment on all sides. So let me promise you this – we will work through this together. We will continue to get you the skilled Asian chefs that you need and we will also work with you to train up the next generation of home-grown chefs.”
Restaurant owners have reported difficulties in recent years when it comes to hiring skilled chefs. Finding people with skills and experience in Indian and Japanese cuisine has proved particularly difficult since the UK work permit rules for Tier 2 were shaken up.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, said in February 2012 that the changes would make it almost impossible for Indian chefs to work in Britain.
He remarked: “Under the rules for Tier 2 skilled migrants, chefs from non-European Union countries who will be allowed to work in the UK have to earn a minimum of £30,000 annually. This is far too high and the restriction has badly hit Indian restaurants in the UK.”