The Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation has announced updated changes to the Employment Permit system today to address certain labour shortages in the agricultural and food sector.

The changes are as follows:

  • 100 extra general employment permits to be issued in the dairy industry for dairy farm assistants. This scheme was previously capped at 50 permits.
  • A minimum remuneration requirement of €22,000 for Diary Farm Assistants.
  • 300 extra general employment permits in the meat production industry for Meat Deboners. The minimum remuneration requirement is €27,500.

This is a welcomed development in the diary and meat industry in circumstances where we are aware of many diary producers and meat abattoirs who have been unable to secure Irish or EU nationals to fill available positions, which has had a knock-on effect on their business needs.

The dairy industry in Ireland has been growing significantly since 2015 following the abolition of milk quotas. Farmers can now produce an unlimited supply of milk for sale to the market, however many farmers have been unable to increase their production due to problems in securing skilled candidates who are Irish or EU nationals to fill the positions.  Thus, the increase in the employment permit quota for Diary Farm Assistants is much welcomed around the country. 

In circumstances where Ireland is now approaching full employment, it is important that that Minister Humphreys and her Department are cognisant of the labour shortages which continue to exist in many lower skilled positions and we submit that they should continue to introduce additional schemes such as the above in certain sectors to assist struggling employers to fill available roles. Failure to do so we submit will eventually have a negative effect on our growing economy.

Some additional changes were announced by Minister Humphreys today which will not take effect until the 1st of January 2020.

The changes include:

  1. An increase in the advertising time period of the Labour Market Needs Test for General Employment permits to four weeks (the current requirement is two weeks).
  2. An increase in the remuneration threshold for Critical Skills Employment Permits, to €32,000 for jobs on the Highly Skilled Occupation lists and €64,000 for all other roles. The current threshold of €30,000 and €60,000 remain valid until January. 

The Immigration Department of Sinnott Solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with all categories of Employment Permit Applications and related immigration permissions. If you have any queries on the employment permit process or any matters raised in this article, do not hesitate to contact our immigration team today on +353 1 406 2862 or