The government is reviewing whether chefs, who account for the highest number of skilled work and residence visas, should continue to be classed as a priority profession for attracting immigrant workers.
Visas for chefs jumped by 65 percent in the past 10 years, but a report by Immigration New Zealand says there are almost 500 unemployed New Zealand chefs.
Last year, more than 4000 people were granted visas to work as chefs and a further 950 chefs became residents.
Immigration New Zealand's report concluded there was moderate evidence of the need for foreign workers.
The review would look at whether the occupation should be on the Long Term Skill Shortage List; a list of all long-term high-level skills shortages in the New Zealand labour market.
Immigration New Zealand area manager Darren Calder said the review would involve extensive consultation with industry groups, stakeholders and relevant government agencies alongside analysis of economic, labour market and immigration data.
"The review process seeks to strike the right balance between making it easy for employers to source foreign workers where there are shortages, and encouraging employers to make use of local workers.
"The occupation of chef is being reviewed this year to check whether the listing is effective in attracting workers with the required qualifications."
A decision by Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse is expected by the end of the year.