Chicken Tikka masala may be a seasoned dish in India, but in Britain it is in a soup. Declared a national dish in 2001 by foreign secretary Robin Cook, the savoury curry is now being threatened due to Brexit. Stringent immigration laws is cutting down on the foot soldiers of the curry industry.
Quartz India reported that staffing shortage and rising costs might shut down a third of the UK’s estimated 17,000 curry houses over the next decade. That is a huge number for an industry that employs over 100,000 people and contributes over £4 billion to the British exchequer.
During a BBC Radio interview, even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge confirmed that curry is their preferred dish when it comes to take-aways. The dish trumped the otherwise popular Chinese cuisine. However, it is often ordered with a fake address. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s love is in sync with Britain which boasts of a curry house in every corner.
Primarily owned by Bangladeshis hailing from the northeastern city of Sylhet, the industry depends on immigrant labour force. But the Home Department Office attempts to bring down net immigration is strangulating the industry with a £2,000 fee on importing skilled labour. The department’s work permit scheme imposes a salary threshold of £29,750, including rent and accommodation.
For this industry which employs people in millions, Brexit is sounding the death knell not just economically but culturally too as the curry is a sign of a modern diverse British culture that may soon be lost.