Restaurateurs Protest Against The Government’s New Immigration Rules

Posted on News May 2008 - by Tandoori Magazine
Restaurateurs Protest Against The Government’s New Immigration Rules

Spearheaded by the Bangladeshi Caterers Association (BCA), thousands of restaurateurs protested last month against the Government’s new immigration rules in the hope that a crippling crisis for the Indian restaurant sector will be averted.

Restaurateurs from the Bangladeshi community were joined by members from the Indian, Pakistani, Turkish and Chinese catering industry – now collectively known as the Ethnic Catering Alliance – in Trafalgar Square to request that the Government relax the strict laws, including the Points Based System, being currently being implemented. 

The Alliance also wants the Government to put a stop to the increasing number of “heavy-handed” raids taking place against illegal restaurant workers.

Amongst the speakers at the protest were such industry figures as Bajloor Rashid,

President of the Bangladeshi Caterers Association, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of Cobra Beer and George Galloway MP. 

Several members of the protest carried banners stating “Save the British Curry Industry” and “Stop Politics, Save Currynomics”.

Amongst their demands, the Alliance is calling for the Government to recognise the unique characteristics of ethnic catering, and to put the occupations in these businesses on the Occupations Shortage List, stop all disruptive Border Immigration Agency (BIA) actions, recognise urgently their industry as an area of skills shortage and relax the rules accordingly to allow urgent recruitment. 

It’s also asking recognise the unique language and authentic characteristics of ethnic catering and to work with ethnic communities and invest in training programmes, which would resolve long-term labour problems in the British ethnic catering businesses and provide employment opportunities for local people.

A spokesperson for the Alliance, said: “This has been the first time when people from diverse British migrant communities have come together to show our feelings and make our views known to politicians. Over the years we have contributed much to this country; now is the time for the politicians to listen to us and pay attention to the needs of our communities.”

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