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More work permits to tackle shortages
Pic: RollingNews.ie

28 Oct 2021 / employment Print

More work permits to tackle shortages

The Government has announced changes to the way employment permits are granted to workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

The decision, which follows a review carried out by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, is aimed at addressing skills and labour shortages in a number of areas of the economy – including the construction and hospitality sectors.

Damien English (Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail) said that the impact of the pandemic on the labour market had been a “significant consideration” in the review – the third since the onset of COVID-19.

As a result of the review, the quota for HGV drivers is to be removed, to support businesses that import and export consumer goods and products to and from Ireland.

More construction categories

The minister also announced that more occupations within the constructions sector would become eligible for General Employment Permits, in an effort to ease shortages in the industry.

General Employment Permits are granted in cases where an employer cannot find a worker to fill a vacancy.

The main changes include:

  • Most construction sector jobs are now eligible for a General Employment Permit,
  • The quota for HGV driver work permits is to be removed,
  • There will be 350 General Employment Permits for hospitality managers,
  • Social workers will be eligible for the Critical Skills Employment Permit,
  • Dispensing opticians will be eligible for General Employment Permit,
  • New General Employment Permit quotas for 1,000 horticulture operatives, 500 meat de-boners, 1,500 meat-processing operatives and 100 dairy farm assistants. A strategic review of the labour market in this sector is to follow,
  • A new General Employment Permit quota of 100 for ‘work riders’ for the equine industry.

‘Deficits to continue’

The changes come into effect from today (28 October), with the aim of addressing some of the more immediate shortages.

“Employment-permit policy is only one part of the response to addressing skills and labour deficits likely to continue into the medium term,” the minister said.

“It is not intended as a long-term substitute for up-skilling, nor should it displace sourcing labour from the State’s resident workforce,” he added.

The eight new categories in the construction sector that are now eligible for a General Employment Permit are:

  • Electricians,
  • Masons,
  • Roofers, roof-tilers and slaters,
  • Plumbers and heating-and-ventilation engineers,
  • Carpenters and joiners.
  • Floor installers and wall-tilers,
  • Painters and decorators,
  • Construction and building-trades supervisors.

These changes mean that almost all occupations in the construction sector are eligible for a General Employment Permit.

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