Response from the Minister to my call to Place Chefs on the Critical Skills Employment Permit List

Commencement Matter

3 October 2017

Senator Catherine Noone

The need for the Minister of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation to consider placing Chefs on the critical skills employment permit list.



On behalf of the Tánaiste, I want to thank the Senator for raising this issue in the House.


Ireland’s overarching labour market policy is to promote the sourcing of skills and labour needs from within the workforce of Ireland and the European Economic Area. The employment permits system offers an interim solution for employers where specific skills prove difficult to source within the EEA.


The system is ordered by the use of lists which determine which occupations are highly demanded and which are ineligible for consideration for employment permits. Changes to these lists are made on the basis of research undertaken by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) in tandem with a consultation process, as part of a package of measures to meet those skills needs. 


Chefs are currently on the ineligible list for employment permits, with the exception of Executive Chefs, Head Chefs, Sous Chefs and Specialist Chefs who specialise in non-EEA cuisine.  Providing employment permits for these chef categories supports Ireland being an attractive destination for tourists who enjoy a wide range of cuisines.


In 2015 the EGFSN’s study on the future skills needs of the hospitality sector indicated a rising skills demand in line with the economic recovery and it made a series of recommendations to avoid skills shortfalls as the sector grows.  


Consequently, a Hospitality Skills Oversight Group to drive and co-ordinate action was established in late 2015. The group comprises representatives of private and public stakeholders, including the Restaurant Association of Ireland.  The Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation is aware that work 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.


While the emphasis is on developing skills in the Irish labour market, the role migration can play is being kept under review. 


The Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation is responsible for ensuring that the employment rights of those in the labour market are protected. It is thus critical that any potential opening up of the regime would require measures be put in place to mitigate any potential risk of abuse of non EEA employees. The use of an indicator of compliance with employment standards is being considered by the Department in collaboration with Solas and Fáilte Ireland.  




© Catherine Noone – Dublin Senator 2011. | Wordpress Webdesign by: exSite