Sevenoaks restaurant boss slams Government policy

April 27, 2016 No Comments

The owner of Tandoori Nights near Sevenoaks in Kent recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. However the owner, John Miah, says he is concerned for its future because of the Government’s cap on non-EU skilled workers.

 

Chefs fall within the higher bracket of Tier 2 under the Home Office’s caps on skilled workers from outside of the EU. This means that to accept a job offer in this country, the chef must be offered £29,570 per year around £5,000 above the average industry salary.

 

Mr Miah said: “It is a very worrying time for the curry industry as there are currently between six and seven closing a week. Restaurants cannot afford to pay chefs this money and we need chefs who have been trained for at least three years. The Government wants us to employ local young people but it doesn’t work. There is such a small percentage of young Asian people in this country who want to work in the restaurant industry.”

 

The owner, also a trained chef, said he has had to return to the restaurant’s kitchen for the first time in almost a decade when his head chef goes on holiday. “I don’t mind because I enjoy the kitchen but it is a problem because I should be greeting our customers at the front of house and the business suffers when I am not there,” he added.

 

The British Bangladeshi Caterers’ Association (BBCA), of which Mr Miah is a member, is currently running a petition asking the Government to reverse the cap, which was implemented in 2011. He argues the authentic skills behind being a curry chef – for instance, using a Tandoori oven – cannot be taught in a basic apprenticeship.

 

Mr Miah added: “The number of restaurants closing because of this is only going to increase because there are not the chefs over here. Unless something happens, we are in deep trouble.”

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