New Zealand

Chef-starved NZ optimistic for skilled migrant update

Under current requirements, not even Jamie Oliver would make the cut

Hospitality New Zealand (HNZ) is hoping a relaxation in immigration settings will open the door for an influx of much-needed skilled chefs.

Bracing for a government announcement as early as next week, HNZ Chief Executive Julie White said a much-needed change in current immigration would be welcomed by the industry.

“Hospitality New Zealand has been working overtime in recent months, writing and talking to the Minister and officials about including or relevant industry experience in the migrant chef criteria settings,” she said.

“This would be a significant move for the industry which has been starved of skilled chefs.”

Until now only chefs with the equivalent of New Zealand’s level 4 cookery qualifications have been allowed in, but Ms White said very few have been applying because the qualification is not relevant for overseas skilled chefs. 

“Take Jamie Oliver as an example, he has a qualification in home economics so he would not meet the current criteria to enter New Zealand to work as a chef. 

Most highly skilled migrant chefs have honed their skills by working in the kitchen, many under the stewardship of Michelin-Star chefs.

“We’ve been missing out on great talent because of this restriction,” Ms White said.

“We’re looking forward to this announcement because every day counts.

“Without getting these experienced people, some businesses have been forced to shut – that’s how vital it is.”


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