An award-winning restaurant is having to close because the Home Office has refused to extend its chef’s business visa.
Oz Urfa, in City Road, Cardiff , which specialises in charcoal grilling, recently won the Taste of Wales Best World Cuisine Restaurant 2016 award.
But it will shut on August 24 because one of the two brothers who each invested £17,000 to set it up is being forced to leave the UK.
While Feredun Yavuzel is a British citizen, like his wife and daughter, his brother Faruk is not.
Business person’s visa
Faruk, 44, came to Wales legitimately four years ago on a Turkish business person’s visa which is valid under the decades-old Ankara Agreement for those who invest in and develop a business.
This has happened and the restaurant has developed a dedicated and enthusiastic clientele because of the quality of its food and low prices.
Faruk and his brother believe he has been refused an extension to his visa because the Home Office is cracking down on those who abuse this Agreement.
Despite having invested his life savings in the business with his brother, officials consider that the success of the restaurant does not justify allowing him to remain.
Without Faruk’s ability to produce the unique charcoal grilled flavour of the meat and fish, the restaurant will close and Feredun, who is the front-of-house manager, will be thrown out of work.
‘Extremely popular restaurant’
Regular diner Alwyn Evans said: “It’s a brilliant little restaurant that is extremely popular and very highly rated on Trip Advisor. People like Faruk and Feredun have ploughed all their savings into developing it into one of the best restaurants in Cardiff, but now they stand to lose all the money they have invested in the business. I am concerned that the present Home Office clampdown is hitting hardest those who are legitimately contributing to Cardiff’s economy.”
Feredun, 42, said: “Years ago my brother and I used to work together in restaurants in the Turkish resort of Kusadasi. He stayed behind while I came over to Britain and became a British citizen. I worked as a taxi driver for some time, but didn’t like it. We then had the idea of starting a restaurant in Cardiff, using Faruk’s cooking skills. Between us we put £34,000 into the business and it has gone well.”
But both brothers were shocked when the Home Office said Faruk would have to leave the UK.
Feredun said: “I know that some Turkish people have abused the business visa and claimed to be setting up businesses when they’ve been working for somebody else. But that doesn’t apply to Faruk. It seems like he’s being punished because others have done wrong, and that isn’t fair.”
Faruk has mounted a legal challenge to the Home Office’s decision and is awaiting a court date. But the brothers have decided to shut the restaurant down on August 24.
“It’s very sad, and we stand to lose the money we’ve invested, but what else can we do?,” said Feredun.
“The Home Office has suggested that Faruk is unable to support himself with the amount he earns, but that simply isn’t true. He lives with my family, and as the joint owner of a restaurant business he would always have enough food.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases. All applications are considered on their individual merits, including any exceptional or compassionate circumstances, and in accordance with the immigration rules.
“All applications for leave to remain in the UK need to show evidence that supports any applicant being able to maintain and accommodate themselves and their dependents, if applicable.”