Iftekhar seeks UK's help to save British curry industry
Sunday, 28 September 2008

Desk Report

Foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury has urged the UK government to adjust its immigration laws and pave the way for Bangladeshis to save the Britain's curry industry.

The foreign adviser made the request to British secretary of state for international development Douglas Alexander at a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
 
"I requested Douglas Alexander to adjust the immigration rules in a way so that supply of workers for Bangladeshi restaurants in the UK can take place unimpeded," Iftekhar Chowdhury said in a statement issued from New York Saturday.
 
The UK government has recently revised its immigration laws to introduce a point-based system, making it difficult for Bangladeshi chefs and restaurant workers with a poor knowledge of English to settle in the country.
 
The Bangladesh Catering Association in the UK claims Britain's curry industry has an annual turnover of £3.5 billion a year, and is totally dominated by low-skilled Bangladeshi workers.
 
If immigration laws are not relaxed, the curry industry in the UK will collapse, fear investors in this sector.
 
The Bangladeshi restaurant sector in the UK, made up of predominantly small and medium enterprises, has been waging a battle across Britain to relax immigration laws for their industry.
 
The British government, on Sept 10, included the curry industry in the shortage occupation list for which the UK government could allow low-skilled Bangladeshis in to Britain, fulfilling certain conditions.

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