The head of the Bangladesh caterers association (BCA) has criticised a sudden rise in so-called "curry house" raids. Oli Khan the head of the BCA has spoken out about the issues surrounding the industry and has indicated that his association is going to write to immigration minister Brandon Lewis again after their previous letter was ignored.
The industry has been badly affected by new immigration laws that mean there was a significant rise in the minimum pay requirements for non-EU staff working on a visa. A Home Office spokesperson said: "Using illegal labour is not victimless. It cheats the taxpayer, undercuts honest businesses and cheats legitimate jobseekers of employment opportunities. We are happy to work with businesses to ensure the right pre-employment checks are carried out, but we take robust action against employers who deliberately flout the rules.
"We continue to welcome the very top chefs, and such skilled chefs are on the shortage occupation list. But we also want to nurture more home-grown talent, so the restaurant sector must offer training to attract and recruit resident workers."
The low-paid nature of work in the hospitality industry means that there will always be the temptation for employers to try and use cheaper foreign labour to work in their premises, but the recent government crackdown has meant that the Home Office is more vigilant than ever when it comes to non-EU immigration. But the immigration laws of 2017 mean that restaurant owners are now under more pressure than ever to ensure that they are vetting their staff as carefully as possible and ensuring compliance with the relevant laws.
With Brexit on the horizon, immigration has once again become a big deal in the UK. The Conservative government has had targets in place for years to try and reduce non-EU migration to the country and the upsurge in immigration raids is certainly an indicator that the government means business on the issue. Though many are worried that the rise in the minimum wage for immigrants on certain visa schemes means that to remain competitive restaurants will either have to work outside of the law or face extinction. Indeed once Brexit happens, depending on law changes, it may be a case that Britain will have a huge problem with regards to low-paid workers on visa's as EU citizens lose their rights to stay in the country.
The government has a tough balancing act between now and 2019 to try and ensure that the UK has sufficient numbers of workers to support its economic needs and many will worry that the upsurge in raids is counter-productive in achieving the UK's long-term aims.
If you have been affected by these law changes or are worried about the potential issues surrounding them then get in touch. Our specialist immigration specialists can help you navigate the complicated world of immigration law, helping you to ensure compliance and protecting you against potential problems.