Chinese restaurants face ruin because of new laws which could lead to a shortage of staff, a Birmingham business leader has warned.
Skilled head chefs, who have been trained in China and Hong Kong, may be forced to leave the country.
A campaign to convince the Government to change the proposed legislation has been launched by solicitor Christine Lee, who is joint owner of two restaurants in the city.
It involves Chinese business leaders from across the country, as well as Bangladeshi restaurant owners who fear they could also be hit.
The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill, designed to clamp down on illegal workers, will force immigrants whose visas expire to leave the country, instead of remaining here while their application for an extension is considered.
It will also require anyone whose application is refused to leave immediately, before an appeal is heard.
The Home Office has told community leaders that they should recruit staff from within the European Union, such as immigrants from Eastern Europe who are entitled to work here.
There are more than 5,000 Chinese restaurants in Britain today, including many in Birmingham's Chinese Quarter. There are also about 10,000 takeaway food shops, and together they contribute about £1 billion a year to the economy.
Ms Lee said: "We have been to see Ministers in London and are going again this week.
"The Chinese are generally a reserved community, which has never before made public complaints to the British government.
"However for the first time in the history of the Chinese community here, they feel a strong need to come before Parliament and protest. This is unnecessary and draconian legislation.
"We don't want cheap labour. It is the head chefs we are concerned about, and they are highly skilled people.
"They train the rest of the staff. It takes about five years to train someone.
"There are no colleges of Chinese cooking in this country, so if they cannot work here, how can we train our kitchen staff?
"We agree illegal immigrants need to be removed."
She added: "It would devastate the catering and restaurant industry, discourage Chinese investors from investing in the United Kingdom and greatly reduce the number of Chinese foreign students who believe the British education system is the best in the world."
Ms Lee is Director of Christine Lee & Co Solicitors, in central Birmingham, and part-owner of restaurants Pad Thai and Cathay, in Holloway Head.
She has organised a petition, which has been signed by representatives of 300 businesses across the country.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Allowing the sector to continue to rely on low-skilled labour from out-side the UK or EU would be self-perpetuating if it means the sector continues to be reliant on workers with particular language skills."