A lot has been written over the last few months about the new immigration controls that chefs can only be recruited from outside the European Community if they have at least 5 year’s experience and their salary is at least £28,000 a year.
These moves have been very unpopular with a lot of curry house owners who want to continue bringing in cheaper chefs from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The government argues that there are a lot of unemployed people in the UK who can learn to cook and have promoted Curry Colleges to help train new cooks and chefs.
The Curry Colleges are Westminster Kingsway College, University of West London, Leeds City College, University College Birmingham and Trafford College.
The colleges give students 6 weeks of practical training in kitchens and then they get an interview with a curry restaurant owner. If the candidate is suitable then they undertake a 2 year apprenticeship. The apprenticeship scheme is administered by the Hospitality Guild.
There are only a few apprenticeships just now but it is hoped that the numbers will rise in order to cater for the demand.
It’s doubtful whether an exception is going to be made for curry chefs in the immigration rules so the curry restaurant owners just have to get on with it. It will be a while before apprentices learn their trade but at least it is a plan to address the shortfall of curry chefs in the curry houses around the UK. People will be able to eat curries and unemployed people will get jobs.
The Federation of Specialist Restaurants has reported that there are 9.500 Indian restaurants in the UK (the term “Indian restaurants” refers to Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurants), compared to 3,600 Chinese restaurants and 900 Thai restaurants.
9,500 restaurants will need a lot of apprentices to be trained in order to meet the demand for a good curry.