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Ireland General Employment Permits For Chefs

Cafes and restaurants all over Ireland employ overseas chefs and specialist catering and hospitality staff. For non-EU citizens (European Union) and non-EEA nationals, an Ireland Chef work permit will need to be obtained to legally reside and work in the country.

If you’re looking to hire foreign talent into your Irish hospitality business IAS can help you successfully apply for the relevant work permit for them. Call us today on +353 061 518 025.

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    General Employment Permit For Chefs: Eligibility And Requirements


    Both overseas employees and employers must meet several eligibility criteria to receive the relevant work permit for them to work in Ireland.

    Requirements for the Employee

    • Have been granted the relevant employment permit before they travel to Ireland
    • Be earning a minimum salary of €34,000 (figure correct as of January 2024; this figure is set to rise to €39,000 by January 2025)
    • Working in a role that is not on the Ineligible Occupations List
    • Able to provide all relevant supporting documents with their application.

    The Ineligible Occupations List is very specific in its requirements for chefs. The only exceptions to the list for which work permits will be granted are:

    • Executive Chef with a minimum of five years’ experience
    • Head Chef with a minimum of five years’ experience
    • Sous Chef with a minimum of five years’ experience
    • Chef de Partie with a minimum of two years’ experience
    • Commis Chef with a minimum of two years’ experience.
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    Requirements for the Employer

    In order to ensure that overseas staff are not favoured over those already settled in Ireland or Europe, employers must be able to demonstrate they have meet the following:

    Complete a Labour Market Needs Test

    A Labour Market Test must be conducted to show that it was necessary to employ workers from outside the EU and EEA.

    It is necessary for the employer to advertise the position, with details of the location, salary, and contracted hours through the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and European Employment Services (EURES) for at least four weeks. As well as in an Irish national newspaper and in a local Irish newspaper or job site for at least three days.

    The test must be finished before any attempt is made to hire a chef from overseas. An application for an employment permit for an overseas hire must be made within 90 days of the role being advertised with the DSP and EURES.

    If the chef role pays over €64,000 per annum, the test does not need to be completed as it will be considered ‘specialist’.

    Meet the 50/50 Rule

    The DETE will only issue an employment permit for an overseas worker if the business has no more than 50% of its workforce non-EEA citizens. There are some instances in which the employer is permitted to have more than half its total staff ‘third country’ nationals, and these are as follows:

    • The company has been incorporated for less than two years and has a letter of support for overseas hiring from Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland
    • Work permits for the existing non-EEA staff were granted prior to 1st October 2014
    • If the new hire from a third country will be the sole employee of the company

    If you are looking to hire chefs for jobs to work in Ireland from overseas and are unsure if your business meets the eligibility criteria IAS can help advise. Call our team on +353 061 518 025 for more information.

    Our immigration team has helped hundreds of businesses bring chefs to Ireland. Let us help you too. Contact Us

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      How To Apply for a General Employment Permit: Step-by-Step Process

      The application process for a general employment permit may be filed by either employee or employer but not by a chef recruiters’ agency. Whoever is taking on the application process must ensure that they are able to provide all required documents.

      1. Employment offer issued

      The potential employee must be in receipt of a formal written offer of employment. The employer must ensure that all relevant information is given and that the role meets all eligibility criteria.

      2.  Supporting documents collected

      The work permit application is to be filed along with some supporting documentation to prove the eligibility status of the potential employee. These include:

      • Valid passport, expiring no sooner than six months after the intended end date of the employment permit
      • Passport photo
      • Copies of the applicant’s qualifications if relevant to the role (translated into English if not already)
      • Letter of reference from the applicant’s previous employer.

      Supporting documents from the employer must include:

      • A recent statement issued by Revenue Commissioners showing the monthly statutory return made by the employer or a receipt for a return issued through ROS (Revenue Online Service) or evidence of recent payments made to the Revenue Commissioners through SEPA monthly direct debit payments made
      • Valid Tax Access number
      • Copy of utility bill for the premises from last 2 months
      • Letter from the Health Authority confirming employer has permission to operate as a restaurant.
      • Statement from the employer that the employee will not be employed in a fast-food outlet.

      The employment permit application can be filed online through the Irish government’s Employment Permits Online System (EPOS).

      A fee of €1,000 must be paid for the processing of the employment permit application. Should the application be declined, 90% of this fee will be refundable with 10% held back to cover administration costs. In most cases, the employer covers this fee but it is not a legal requirement.

      The amount of time it takes to process an employment permit application is dependent on the immigration authorities’ workload, with current SLAs being posted monthly online.

      In most instances, it takes no longer than one month to receive a decision. The decision will be communicated to both employer and employee either by post or e-mail. If refused, an appeal may be submitted within 28 days.

      In exceptional circumstances, businesses may be able to seek expedited employment permit processing for urgent cases. If your company is in this position, call IAS for expert legal advice on +353 061 518 025.

      Entry Requirements

      If the application is successful for a work permit and the chef is not an Irish resident already, and is resident in a country that requires one, they will need to apply for a visa to enter Ireland. When they arrive in the country, they may present the visa and the valid employment permit to immigration officers.

      Visas are not required in addition to a work permit if the applicant is any of the following:

      • A citizen of an EU or EEA state
      • A resident of an EEA state or Switzerland because they are the family member of one of the citizens mentioned above living outside of their home country
      • Qualifying for the UK short-stay visa waiver scheme
      • A citizen of: Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City.

      Regardless of the applicant’s visa status or requirement for one, if they receive an Irish work permit then they must register with the relevant local registration office within the first three months of arriving in Ireland. This provides the individual with an IRP (Irish Residence Permit).

      Family Reunification allowed for Work Permits

      If a chef successfully receives a general employment permit, they may bring their spouse and dependent children to Ireland with them after one year. The permit holder must prove that they are able to financially support all family members, and each must be in receipt of a relevant visa.

      Any family members aged 16 or over must register and get an IRP. No family members will be entitled to work in Ireland unless they are also in receipt of a valid employment permit.

      Validity And Extension of General Employment Permit

      further three. A renewal must be filed through the EPOS at least 16 weeks before the current Irish work permits are valid for a maximum period of two years but may be renewed for a permit is due to expire.

      After this five-year period, the permit holder may apply to ISD for a Stamp 4 leave to remain. This allows for the chef to continue work without a specific permit and to apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

      How IAS Can Help

      Navigating immigration law can be tricky for businesses; especially where role profiles fit within specialist criteria within the exclusionary occupation list. IAS helps businesses the world over import their finest talent from overseas with the relevant work permits, visas and immigration permissions.

      Call the IAS team today on +353 061 518 025 to find out more on how we can help your hospitality business flourish.

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                Related pages for your continued reading.


                There is currently no scope for chefs in any fast food establishment to qualify for an employment permit, even if they meet the rest of the eligibility criteria.

                Chef employment permits are only offered to those considered specialists and where a role pays less than the minimum salary as listed by the DETE, it is not considered to be so.