“Chefs account for the highest number of vacancies in the hospitality sector and the shortage of commis chefs is feeding into shortages at higher and specialist level,” she said.
The Minister is also removing the quota of 610 chef permits and removing the cap of two chefs per establishment.
All changes come into effect from 1st January 2020 and go a considerable way toward redressing the skills shortage in kitchens in pubs, hotels and restaurants up and down the country.
“The Restaurants Association of Ireland is delighted that after months of lobbying Minister Humphreys has heard our requests and has delivered this good bit of news to the industry before Christmas,” said the Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins, “Hopefully these new work permits will help to alleviate staff shortages currently being experienced by the industry. This will be of benefit to all sectors in the hospitality industry and will facilitate combatting the chef shortage Ireland is now experiencing.
“The lack of chef work permits available has been a huge cause of concern for our members over the past few months and we’re relieved to hear this announcement.”
However it remains to be seen how long it will take to process work permits for chefs after the lengthy delays experience last Summer when waiting times were taking anything from three to 14 weeks.
The hospitality industry in Ireland directly employs 152,000 people and employment in tourism is projected to be 310,000 by 2025.
The changes to the State’s work permit regime will also allow more nurses and construction workers from outside the EU to work here.