Court quashes decision to refuse Indian chef's visa request over lack of cooking skills

Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger found the Minister for Justice’s decision was legally flawed, including that it unfairly claimed the man was unable to provide basic recipes for dishes he would be required to cook in Ireland
Court quashes decision to refuse Indian chef's visa request over lack of cooking skills

High court reporters

An Indian national with a permit to work in a restaurant in Ireland has succeeded in his High Court challenge to a decision refusing his visa application on the basis he did not demonstrate sufficient skills in tandoori chicken cooking.

Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger found the Minister for Justice’s decision was legally flawed for various reasons, including that it unfairly claimed the man was unable to provide basic recipes for dishes he would be required to cook in Ireland.

Both the man and his prospective employer in Ireland had specified that he would be required to cook Indian bread and did not need to cook chicken dishes, she said.

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Employment granted the man a work permit in June 2020 for a role as a tandoori chef at an Indian restaurant in the west of Ireland.

The man then applied to the Department of Justice for a long-stay visa. During a telephone interview, he was asked what type of food he would be cooking in Ireland, to which he responded: “Indian breads”.

Chicken tikka

When asked about cooking other dishes, including chicken tikka, he said this was not part of his job. However, he said he had only a basic knowledge of this type of cooking.

The Minister refused his application in September 2020, saying he had not provided sufficient evidence that he had the appropriate skills, knowledge or experience for the position in Ireland. Further, she said, the employer had not provided sufficient evidence that they sought skilled candidates from Ireland prior to offering the man the job.

He appealed this decision, and the appeals officer found he was unable to provide "basic details for basic recipes" he claimed to have cooked and would be required to cook at the restaurant in Ireland.

Ruling on his High Court appeal, Ms Justice Bolger noted the man had previously worked as a tandoori chef and his prospective employer wanted him to make tandoori breads, curries and sauces.

The judge said she preferred the applicant’s evidence over that supplied by the Minister as to "what is or is not a curry".

There were various legal flaws in the Minister’s decision, she said, including a failure to rationalise the findings that the man would not observe his visa conditions or that he had not provided sufficient evidence that he had appropriate skills, knowledge or experience for the job position.

She quashed the appeal officer’s decision and remitted the matter to a different officer for reconsideration.

 

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