RAI says chef shortage has reached ‘crisis point’


The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) says that the shortage in chefs in Ireland has reached “crisis point”.

Over the past two and a half years, over 700 chefs from outside the European Union have been given permits to work in Ireland while 564 permits have been refused. New regulations were introduced in March to much enthusiasm within the industry. Under the new regulations, 610 chefs from outside the EU will be allowed into Ireland.

The RAI has called on the Government to fast-track work permits. It says that some restaurants are being forced to close on a Monday and Tuesday due to the shortage.

Speaking on RTÉ’S Morning Ireland programme, chief executive of the RAI Adrian Cummins says ‘ the problem we have in the restaurant industry at the moment is the time it’s taking to get a work permit, it can take some candidates up to 6 months to arrive in the country. That’s too long, too many businesses are closing on a Monday and a Tuesday because of this, what we need is a fast-track approach.”

Speaking on the same programme Dr Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, Senior Lecturer in DIT’s  School of Culinary Arts says ‘ Every there are many reasons for the shortage but the main issue is that demand has far outstripped supply. We are eating out more than we ever had in the past. Historically, chefs would have worked in restaurants and hotels, now they are working everywhere. They’re working in racecourses, high tech companies, out in the airport. There working everywhere.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation say a review is currently underway and would be complete by the end of this month.