Your Indian curry in Britain may not taste the same anymore. And the blame for this lies squarely with the United Kingdom’s new Tier 1 and Tier 2 immigration policy, according to an influential MP, who claims the new rules make it impossible for specialised chefs from India to move to Britain, the Economic Times reports.
“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 amount of £30,000 annually. This is far too high and the restriction has badly hit Indian restaurants in the UK,” says Keith Vaz, a Labour MP. Vaz, whose family is from Goa, has been a vocal critic of the new immigration rules.
According to the revised policy, non-EU migrants who want to work as chefs should have a minimum of five years’ experience in a similar job and graduate-level qualifications. Further, an announcement by UK’s immigration minister Damian Green last week on a threshold salary range of between £31,000 and £49,000 annually has also caused resentment among the Indian community. Green’s statement means that those chefs from India, who fall below the salary limit, will now have to leave the country after five years, and will not be eligible for permanent residence.
Earlier this month the Immigration Minister also announced the introduction of a minimum earnings figure of £31,000 in order to qualify for permanent settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain.
UK’s curry industry, which has been valued at over £3 billion, has been severely hit by the stringent immigration rules of the coalition government, which has pledged to slash net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’. The home office rules allow only the top 5% of chefs into the country from non-EU countries. Vaz, who had initially suggested a four-year chef visa to allow foreign chefs to live and work in the UK on a non-permanent basis, is now concerned about the impact on curry houses of the stringent policy.
“Indian cuisine is very popular in the UK. It is an ancient and traditional cuisine and finding skilled chefs from outside the Indian subcontinent is very difficult. Even if chefs from India start training locals in the UK, it would take some time. Till then Indian chefs should be allowed into Britain for the sake of the curry industry,” he says.
Students also hit by new rules
Vaz, who chairs the Home Affairs select committee in UK parliament, is worried about the abolition of the Post Study Work visa, which will close on 6 April. Non-EU overseas students, who until now had the option to remain in the UK post their studies and look for work, will have to return to their home or find an employer willing to sponsor them immediately on £20,000pa.
The new Tier 4 student visa rules announced last week changes everything.
Now, only those international students who ‘graduate from a university’, and have a skilled job offer with a minimum salary of £20,000 (or more in some cases) from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency, will be allowed to continue living and working in the UK.
The government has introduced a new Graduate Entrepreneur route will open, with up to 1,000 places for students working on world-class innovative ideas who want to stay and develop them but do not meet the requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.
Young entrepreneurs or small company directors will get the chance to stay on in the UK after their studies if they have £50,000 to invest in their business.
“Before the changes for foreign students were announced, we at the Home Affairs Committee had reached out to different organisations, including industry bodies in India such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), to make an assessment of the impact. The pattern of foreigners coming to study in the UK is intrinsically linked to the leave to stay back and work for a few years provision. The new rules are likely to hit the number of Indian students coming to the UK,” he says.
Vaz felt that while making the assessment, the Migration Advisory Committee of the UK must have used a few isolated incidents of students doing unskilled jobs. “Just because there’s one graduate they may have found working at the tills of a supermarket chain doesn’t mean that all graduate students are doing the same thing. Indians students are a very vibrant community and continue to remain vital for the UK higher education institutions,” he adds.
The changes do not affect EU students from Bulgaria and Romania exercising Treaty Rights to obtain Yellow Cards to study and work in the UK.
Other industries are turning to EU workers, such as Romanians and Bulgarians, to fill vacancies previously taken by non-EU workers.
Despite high UK unemployment healthcare support workers or care assistants are still desperately needed by employers who cannot fill vacancies locally.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or have left the UK!