Chef Shortage – A Full Blown Crisis For Indian Restaurants In The UK


In the UK, Indian restaurant owners are calling on David Cameron for the introduction of short term work visas so that their experienced staff can fly to the UK. Short term work visa will solve the problem of chef shortage that is forcing the closure of Indian restaurants.

Enam Ali who founded the British Curry Awards about 10 years ago is preparing a submission to UK’s Prime Minister and other cabinet members because 90% of curry restaurants are supposedly under the threat of closure due to the shortage of chef skills. Less than 2 years ago after David Cameron acknowledged the 2013 awards, there have been issues with immigration and getting chefs with the necessary abilities and experience. The Prime Minister has vowed that he will continue to help in getting the skilled Asian chefs needed by the curry restaurants.

Indian restaurants have employment population of approximately 100,000 people. Earnings are estimated at £4.2 billion annually; however, Mr. Ali said that it takes up to three years to be able to train a chef from scratch. Lack of chef skills is the reason why some Indian restaurants will soon shut down. Most of the second and third-generation immigrants work in the IT industry.

Historically, immigration is a political exercise that is being used to gain a political advantage but the curry industry is paying a price for this. Mr. Ali hopes that the UK government will help the industry by making immigration laws more flexible so that chefs can be brought in from abroad even on a temporary basis. One of the suggestions is similar to the short term visas that are being provided by Germany, the US and Middle East. There would be no burden to the welfare system of the tax payers since the Asian chefs will be leaving immediately at the end of their working visa. The dearth for skilled curry chefs is becoming a full blown crisis for most Indian and Pakistani restaurants.

In Australia, Indian restaurants in Perth have skilled and experienced curry chefs. Aside from food catering, the restaurants can set up a buffer for a special event with trained and experienced staff.