Curry houses across the Bradford district will be forced to shut their doors unless the Government gets a grip on the immigration system, ministers have been warned.

The South Asian restaurant industry is feeling frustrated and has been threatened by severe staff shortages, Conservative MP Anne Main said.

Speaking in a debate about the industry the St Albans MP said the new points-based immigration system has disproportionately affected the industry.

Under the system, chefs need to speak English and have academic qualification to live and work in the UK.

Mrs Main said: “It is estimated that the staff shortages will cost restaurants an average of £19,000 turnover every year. The points-based system works against the industry.

“It is impossible to show formal recognisable catering academic qualifications obtained in Bangladesh – that doesn’t mean they aren’t skilled chefs, they just can’t prove it.”

The Bangladesh Caterers Association says this has left members unable to recruit trained Bangladeshi cooks and critically short of staff.

Mrs Main called on Government to support calls from the industry to set up a London Curry College.

Skills minister Sion Simon said it was an important issue, both culturally and economically, and he would be happy to make sure the establishment of the college is on the agenda of an ethnic chefs summit later this year.