Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (301)

Peter Burke

Question:

301. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if additional work permits for chefs will be granted due to the demand in the industry (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52846/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

In March 2018, following a comprehensive review of the occupation lists for employment permit purposes, the employment permits system was amended to broaden the availability of permits to all chef grades, with the exception of commis chef, subject to a quota of 610. The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that this quota has now exhausted. The application of a quota is to ensure that in the longer-term, strategies are put in place to source labour supply from both the domestic and European labour markets. 

The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the workforce of the State and other EEA states.  Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and EEA, the employment permits system offers a conduit into the Irish labour market for non-EEA nationals with in-demand skills and is operated as a vacancy led system.  

Before consideration can be given to extending quotas, sectors needs to submit a business case clearly demonstrating that the recruitment difficulties are shortages across the EEA not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions. Sectors also need to detail the strategies in place for training/upskilling/career development and show that they are engaging systematically with the employment services of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.  The views of the lead policy Government Department for the sector, in this case, the Department of Tourism, Transport and Trade is an important part of the decision-making process. 

The occupation lists are subject to a twice yearly review and the most recent review has just been completed. Submissions received, including those from employer representative bodies in the sector, were considered as part of that review. I expect to be in a position to make an announcement of the outcome of the review in the coming days. 

On 9th August a standard application for a General Employment Permit was received from the named employer (Details Supplied).  On 6th November 2019, this application was refused and the employer and prospective employee was informed of the reasons by writing.   A review of this decision was received on 18th November 2019, and on 11th December 2019 the reviewing officer upheld the refusal and informed both parties in writing of all the refusal reasons including that: 

- The Labour Market Needs Test was not carried out in the correct manner. The EURES advertisement was not placed for at least 14 days within 90 days prior to application being submitted and did not include the annual remuneration; and an advertisement placed in a national newspaper could not be verified.

- Evidence that the foreign national has a minimum of 2 years’ experience as a Chef was not provided nor were copies of any chef qualifications.

- Numerous other required documents were not provided (including an up-to-date tax clearance access number, letter from Local Health Authority stating that the employer has been granted permission to operate a restaurant or takeaway at the premises, and a copy of any utility bill).

It should be noted that, in order to assist with the application process, my officials have produced a suite of information including details on how to carry out the Labour Market Needs Test and a "Checklist document for Chefs" which, if followed, should have resulted in the granting of an employment permit.  This information can be found in the Employment Permit section of my Department’s website at www.dbei.gov.ie