Update on employment permit quotas for horticultural workers, dairy farm assistants, meat processing operatives and meat deboners.

The Department of Business Enterprise & Innovation have announced that quotas for certain employment permit applications are either now full, or almost full, and are thus no longer accepting employment permit applications for these occupations.

Horticulture workers

As per the Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2018, the maximum quota for General Employment Permits for horticultural workers is 500. This quota has now been filled and no further applications will be accepted for processing. Applications which are already in the processing queue but have not yet been processed will be refused notwithstanding that they were submitted before the quota was filled.

Dairy Farm Assistants

The Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2019 set a quota of 101 General Employment Permits for dairy farm assistants. The DBEI now advise that this quota has almost been filled and once it is full applications which are already in the queue will similarly be rejected if not reached before the closure. Applicants are therefore directed not to submit new applications for employment permits for dairy farm assistants. 

Meat Processing Operatives

Pursuant to the Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2018 a quota of 1500 general employment permits was set for meat processing operatives. The quota was increased by 1000 in January 2020. Notwithstanding the quota increase, this quota is now almost at full capacity. Again, once it has been filled, any pending applications will be rejected, and no new applications should be submitted under this category.

Meat Deboners

Under the Employment Permit Regulations 2017, a maximum quota of 300 general employment permits for meat deboners was set. The DBEI report that a limited number of employment permits are still available however once this quota has been filled, any outstanding applications in the queue will be refused.

Whilst many employers and employees have benefited from the exceptional quotas set for the above positions, the news that these have been filled (or are almost at full capacity) will come as a significant blow to many individuals with applications pending. We would submit that the DBEI should provide updates at earlier periods of the quota process, for example when quotas numbers are at 50%, which would serve as a reminder to individuals to submit their applications before it is too late and allow employers to plan accordingly. We are aware of a number of employers and prospective employees who have already submitted applications, who will now be left grossly disappointed.

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 0035314062862 or info@sinnott.ie.