The support for Brexit from chefs and curry house owners, predominantly from Bangladesh, has come as a surprise voice in the debate, as the Leave campaign is widely perceived as anti-immigration.
Their argument centers around “freedom of movement,” one of the pillars of the European Union — meaning that citizens from across the community can essentially turn up in the country of their choice and try their luck at finding a job.
“It’s not that we think Europeans shouldn’t have a chance in Britain, it’s just that we feel the country should choose who it needs, what kind of skills they need, so that industries like ours are not short handed,” Khan told CNN.
Freedom of movement has put pressure on Britain’s migrant intake from outside the EU, prompting the government to almost double the minimum salary required for non-EU immigrants, from £18,700 ($26,610) to £35,000 ($50,000).
“This just doesn’t suit the industry. The average salary for a chef in the country is £25,000, so why should we have to pay a junior chef £35,000 to make curry? It’s just not affordable,” Khan said.
Call it the cheap channa argument, though note if this chain of reasoning were better known, it might help the prospects for Remain. The story is here, and here are my previous posts on Brexit (which I nonetheless oppose, cheap channa or not).
For the pointer I thank Brennan McDavid.