June 20 2013 Latest news:
Friday, February 1, 2013
A Chinese restaurant in the town centre is to become take-away only – with its owner putting the blame on new government rules on wages for foreign workers.
A notice in the window of the China Garden informs customers that it will be closing this Sunday and reopening on March 5 without the restaurant area.
Owner George Lai says the decision has been taken because the restaurant cannot afford to employ enough Chinese chefs, as under new immigration rules they have to be paid a minimum of £28,000 a year, and be given free accommodation.
Mr Lai says that the China Garden is not alone in facing problems due to this ruling.
He said: “We do a wholesale business in Plymouth for about three or four hundred restaurants, and we’ve noticed lots have closed down in the past year or so, because they can’t recruit anybody.
“It’s not to do with the recession – they can’t recruit because of the amount of money they would have to pay for an overseas worker.”
Mr Lai fears that the government’s high wage requirements could lead other restaurants to take on illegal workers to get around the rules.
Regarding the China Garden, Mr Lai says that if in future he is able to recruit more chefs the full restaurant could reopen again.
However, as it will now be running with just two chefs, the business could face problems if one is lost.