Midlothian’s top curry restaurateur has welcomed the UK Government’s points-based immigration reforms, saying they could help save many restaurants from going bust.

Habibur Khan, who runs The Radhuni restaurant in Loanhead, said the proposed lower salary threshold would help the UK’s most popular ethnic restaurants.

“The proposals means these restaurants will be able to better afford good chefs and uphold standards as well as invest more in staff training,” he said.

Under the Government’s plan – still to be approved by the Westminster Parliament – the salary threshold for skilled workers wanting to come to the UK would be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600.

The government says the threshold could be as low as £20,480 for people in ‘specific shortage occupations’. The ability to speak English would be a central requirement.

The Radhuni was voted Best Curry Restaurant in Scotland for 2019-20.

Mr Khan said the points system “is a great way to measure who is genuine. Many Indian restaurants have been closing due to staffing issues so this will give us a better idea that employees we are bringing over are competent enough to work and represent the curry industry.”

Local people were often not willing to work the unsociable hours required in restaurants and UK chefs tended to lack the specialist knowledge required, Mr Khan added.

He said: “It’s estimated that the curry industry contributes around £4 billion a year to the UK economy and that up to half its 17,000 restaurants could close in the next 10 years.

“Sensible proposals and a realisation that ethnic restaurant chefs have specialist skills will help many of those restaurants survive.”

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