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Hundreds of work permits approved to address skills shortages in Agri sector

100 permits for the dairy sector and 300 permits for Meat Deboners have been approved by Minister Humphreys.

Hundreds of work permits approved to address skills shortages in Agri sector

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has announced the provision of hundreds of additional work permits to address emerging skills shortages in the Agricultural sector. On the 24th of July, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, approved a substantial number of permits, which are being utilised to open up recruitment for the agri-food sector to workers outside of the EEA. The permits will enable businesses within this sector to source workers from a much larger pool in order to address the labour shortages existing in this industry.

Minister Humphreys has approved 100 permits for the dairy sector, which is currently experiencing a shortage in Dairy Farm Assistants. The aim is to provide the industry with an immediate influx of workers to offset the issues caused by the lack of available labourers.

With the value of dairy exports rising by 78% since 2010, there is going to be an even greater need for workers over the next 7 years, with a forecasted requirement for 700 full-time positions per year. These new permits build upon the 50 released to address shortages last May. Under the new conditions, there will be a minimum salary threshold of €22,000 for Dairy Farm Assistants. In addition to this, employers will be obligated to assist workers in finding suitable accommodation and provide them with access to language training.

Minister Humphreys also announced 300 permits for Meat Deboners. The approval for these permits comes after reports from industry leaders regarding the difficulty of sourcing skilled workers for these particular roles. Despite recruitment campaigns and training programmes run both in Ireland and to attract workers from the EEA, the efforts have not provided the necessary labourers to sustain the industry's needs. Under the new guidelines, the renumeration threshold for Meat Deboners now stands at €27,500.

The primary objective of releasing these additional working permits is to ensure the Agri-Food industry has enough labourers to continue performing at a high level. Minister Humphreys cited the Government's strategy for the sector, entitled Food Wise 2025, which contains ambitious growth projections, ones which can only be met by addressing these labour shortages. 

Minster Humphreys signalled to other sectors experiencing skill shortages that organisations are welcome to submit evidence-based business cases, detailing labour deficiencies in their own industries. However, the lack of labourers must be attributed to "shortages of appropriate personnel across the EEA" and not salary or employment conditions.

To see a list of occupations where there is a shortage of skilled/experienced workers, click here.

To find out more about the Agricultural sector, click here.
To find out more about Jobs in Demand, click here.

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