RAI Looks To Italy And Croatia To Help Offset Irish Chef Shortage

By Dave Simpson
RAI Looks To Italy And Croatia To Help Offset Irish Chef Shortage

In a bid to help offset a shortage of what it estimates to be about 7,000 to 8,000 chefs in Ireland, the Restaurants Association of Ireland has enlisted the services of Global Force recruitment to bring chefs into the country from Italy and Croatia.

According to RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins, in the last two months, Global Force has recruited around 100 Italian chefs for the association's members. Cummins hopes that Global Force will recruit a total of 500 Italian chefs by the end of 2018. The RAI is also attending trade fairs in Croatia in the hopes of recruiting additional chefs from there.

Cummins asserted that Ireland needs at least 5,000 new chefs a year, but the number that graduate annually from training colleges in the country falls far short of this at approximately 1,800.

He said, "We feel the industry has been blacklisted by the government. They won’t allow us to freely hire chefs from outside the European Union. They won’t give us the tools to hire more staff."

Current Irish employment laws state that only ethnic restaurants can hire chefs from outside the EU, with the RAI estimating that these rules resulted in only around 220 non-EU chefs being employed in Ireland last year. The RAI is calling upon the government to allow any restaurant in need of additional kitchen staff to recruit workers from beyond the borders of the EU.

Cummins said, "There is frustration and anger among RAI members over the shortage. We’ve been promised help from the government , but it hasn’t arrived. It all falls between two departments - Justice and Jobs. Someone needs to take control of this issue."