Indian restaurateurs in UK fume over curbs on chefs

In an anti-immigration move that has left the £3.2-billion Indian restaurant industry in the UK fuming, the British government has banned the hiring of chefs from outside the European Union.

The UK government's new emigration policy has dropped chefs from its 'shortage list', along with some other professions.

Indian restaurants have become ubiquitous in the UK, so that every Briton knows what is a curry or a vegetable vindaloo. But these eateries may lose their authenticity under the new rule, which bans the hiring of chefs from outside the European Union.

The new curb includes other occupations such as high-integrity pipe welders, airframe fitters, electricity industry site supervisors, skilled meat boners and trimmers and skilled sheep shearers, estate agents, hairdressers and beauty salon managers.

Previous restrictions had made it difficult to employ chefs from the Indian sub-continent, but today's announcement is expected to spark renewed protests from the Indian restaurant industry.

Owners and restaurant workers had taken to the streets of London in 2008 to protest against the earlier restrictions that raised the salary levels of chefs to be hired, a move that few Indian restaurant owners could afford.