LONDON: Britain's 3.6 billion pound curry restaurant industry, popularized by Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants in the UK, is facing a crisis post-Brexit. Curry restaurants across the island nation are suffering from staff shortages because of visa restrictions and are allegedly being shut down at a rate of three a week, as a result. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has thus urged the government to issue temporary, year-long "vindaloo visas". The visas would allow chefs from the sub-continent to come to Britain to tide over staff shortages.
"We need more urgent measures, including what has been dubbed a 'vindaloo visa', to save the nation's favourite cuisine," Sir Cable said at the British Curry Awards in London on Monday night. The promises that pro-Brexit supporters had been giving, of worker migration from South Asia increasing as a result of leaving the European Union, had not happened, according to Sir Cable.
"If there was any doubt beforehand, the shortage of curry chefs is now a crisis... The curry industry is rightly aggrieved by Brexiteer false promises that a vote to Leave [the European Union] would mean more workers, including chefs, from South Asia could come into the country, because there would be fewer EU workers. This has not materialised," Sir Cable said.
He also called on British Prime Minister Theresa May to end the restrictions and thus allow for the training of "the next generation of curry cooks". An analysis carried out by the British Curry Awards in London estimates 50 per cent of all curry restaurants, around 6,000, will be shuttered within the next ten years.
Curry Awards founder, Enam Ali, has also written to the UK government to create temporary visas for chefs to come to the UK and train local staff in the art of cooking curry in its traditional style.