New Zealand chef Deanna Waters Senf, now based in the United States, wants to come home to work but feel she is being "priced out" by the Government.
"I am a NZ citizen and chef who would love to return home to assist Aotearoa's restaurants with skilled labour," Waters Senf said.
"But one-way flights cost $5800 and mandatory quarantine is $3100, so I am effectively priced out of returning to my home country."
Waters Senf works as a chef, educator and advocate for local food in Oregon and is a survivor from last year's Labour Day fires that damaged more than 4000 structures and led to several fatalities.
"Since the fire I am on a track to return home as my property was almost destroyed. It was a devastating loss of property on top of the income loss from Covid-19's impact on both schools and restaurants in 2020," Waters Senf said.
"My family are all in NZ and I miss them dearly. I am not able to travel home ... due to not being able to afford plane fare or get a mandatory quarantine voucher.
"I feel excluded from returning home due to my income bracket."
Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said Kiwis doing hospitality work overseas are a valuable source and wants the Government to do all it can to help those who want to return home.
"Kiwis that have been working in the hospitality industry overseas are a valuable source of talent and we should be doing all we can to get them to return home," Bidois said.
"A system that assists skilled workers to get back into the country by making them exempt from quarantine costs make sense and we'd certainly like to see our Government exploring initiatives like this."
The association was running a campaign calling on the Government to provide urgent additional visa extension for work visa holders currently in NZ, and allow border exceptions for critical workers in the hospitality industry where there is a proven need.
It also wants the number of working hours permitted to those on student visas to be extended.
"Right now we need to retain the talent we already have in the country, so our priority is asking the government to renew existing temporary visa holders," Bidois added.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the Herald last week she was aware of the issues around worker shortages in hospitality.
She indicated there would be moves to address them in the "not too distant future".
Earlier in the year, celebrity chef Josh Emett put out multiple calls on social media, calling for Kiwi chefs overseas to come home, and at the time was offering to pay part of their airfare back to New Zealand.
In the Herald series "Out of workers", published last month, unions said Kiwis were not filling the gaps because of poor wages in the hospitality industry.