Restaurants Association of Ireland Welcome Changes to Work Permits for Chefs


The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, has signed off on changes to Employment Permit Regulations which will make it easier for businesses in the hospitality sector to source chefs from outside the European Union.


Announcing the changes, Minister Humphreys said:

Following a review of the Highly Skilled and Ineligible lists of Employment earlier this year, which included a public consultation, I am today announcing the removal of certain chef grades from the ineligible occupation list. This means that if an employer is unsuccessful in filling a vacancy either domestically or from across the European Economic Area (EEA) it can be filled by a suitably qualified non- EEA national.


My decision to remove certain chef grades from the ineligible lists will ensure that there is a mechanism to address the shortage of qualified chefs in the short-term. I have applied a quota to ensure that in the longer term the demand for chefs is met from a steady supply in the Irish labour market and to that end I am aware of the work that is underway to increase the supply of chefs through training initiatives such as the development of a new Commis Chef Apprenticeship and a Chef de Partie Apprenticeship.”


Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin T.D. in welcoming the measure said:

“The tourism and hospitality industry is of vital importance to the national economy, with tourists spending €7.2 billion in Ireland and supporting employment of an estimated 235,000 people.  Today’s announcement is one of a number of initiatives to address future skills shortages and to sustain continued growth and employment in the industry. I am confident that this measure along with the suite of culinary apprenticeships will have a positive impact for the industry.”


Minister Humphreys also stated:

“It is also imperative that the employment permits system remains correctly oriented to meet the State’s emerging labour market needs, be they labour or skills shortages. Consequently, my Department is undertaking a review of our economic migration policy.  I have established an Inter Departmental Group to steer the review and have requested that it report to me by the end of June 2018.”


The changes to the occupation lists in the 2018 regulations are as follows:

Removal of the following chef grades from the ineligible list:

o   Executive Chef with minimum of 5 years’ experience at that level

o   Head Chef with minimum of 5 years’ experience at that level

o   Sous Chef with minimum of 5 years’ experience at that level

o   Chef de Partie with minimum of 2 years’ experience at that level

The number of General Employment Permits is limited to 2 per establishment. An overall quota of General Employment Permits is set at 610.


Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Associations today said:

“We in the Restaurants Association of Ireland are delighted with this development from Minister Humphreys. The hospitality industry in Ireland has been under significant strain in recent years in regard to staffing and allowing more skilled professionals to enter the industry can only encourage further growth in this sector. The Restaurants Association of Ireland has been lobbying on this issue since 2012. There is an urgent need for 7,000 chefs per year to service our industry.”



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