Maharani (Indian & Bangladeshi) Ipswich Halal restaurant

Vindaloo visas will help £10b curry industry ‘back on its feet’

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Curry house owners and influencers celebrated the Government’s removal of the so-called ‘Takeaway Clause’ yesterday while cautioning that more work was still required.

The Home Office’s amendment of the Immigration Rules means that “the restriction preventing chefs from working for a sponsor that provides a takeaway service has been removed”.

Despite these ‘vindaloo visas’ not applying to “either a fast food or standard fare outlet”, the news was still welcomed by Ajmal Mushtaq, Chef Director of Mushtaqs restaurant.

Announcing the news on his Facebook page, the owner of the Indian takeaway in Scotland declared: “This once more allows organisations to recruit the best chefs from around the world.”

He spoke of the “tremendous amount of campaigning and effort from many organisations and individuals” that has gone into helping reverse what many have called a “punitive” clause over the years.

While thanking Hans Raj Ram for his effort, Ajmal added that while this was “a result for thousands of restaurants” and would help this “£10 billion industry [] get back on its feet”, the “next step would be to target a realistic salary threshold”.

But what are the next steps?

Currently for takeaway chefs to qualify for sponsorship, they must be earning “at least £29,570 per year” with “five or more years’ relevant experience” for the roles of either executive chef, head chef or sous chef.

Hans Raj Ram, CEO of Goldstar Chefs – a recruitment service for qualified chefs in the British Asian cuisine industry, agreed that more work was needed.

“Still a lot to do because standalone take away outlets are still disqualified, as still wrongly defined as ‘fast food outlets’ – takeaways that need Chefs with precisely the same skill sets as restaurants (as in every Asian cuisine outlet) are still in the same position [sic],” he said on his Facebook page.

Regarding the issue of wage restrictions, Mr Raj Ram revealed that a salary review was “already in pipeline [sic]” with hopes of seeing this fall to “around £23/£25[k] once the technicalities have been clarified and reconfigured”.

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