Changes to the work permit system to target shortages
Changes are being introduced in the work permit system to allow more workers outside the European Economic Area to work there.
The changes will include removing quotas for truck drivers, as well as additional permits for hotel managers and relaxing rules for construction workers, opticians and meat processors.
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, said the government is committed to addressing labor shortages in construction and other key sectors.
Mr English told Morning Ireland that the license changes will take effect from today.
On attracting more truck drivers, he said the changes would act as a “preventive strike” to ensure license limits are not a reason for driver shortages. .
He said heavy truck drivers must have proper safety standards and driving skills, but work in government departments is underway to address a range of issues in this regard.
Minister English said Ireland is a very attractive place for migrant workers despite the housing crisis.
He also said that we need more construction workers in the country to solve the housing crisis and that the permit system will help solve this problem.
He called on those without a job to seek upgrading or retraining in areas where there are labor shortages.
âThis is the third biannual review undertaken since the onset of Covid-19 and the impact of the pandemic on the labor market has been an important consideration in today’s results,â said Damien English.
“These changes, which will take effect from today, will address the most immediate skills and labor shortages in a number of key economic sectors,” he said.
âThe work permit policy is only part of the answer to addressing skills and labor shortages that are likely to continue in the medium term. workforce, âhe added.
The Construction Industry Federation welcomed changes to work permits today that aim to address skills and labor shortages in the industry, but said it was only ‘part of the solution.
Dermot Carey, director of safety and training at CIF, told Morning Ireland that he was working with the Enterprise Department to migrate all categories of construction workers who were not eligible for a construction permit. work towards eligible categories.
However, he said the price of obtaining the permits is expensive and onerous and can be time consuming.
Mr Carey said employers attempting to recruit overseas under the Trusted Partners program experience delays of up to 12 weeks in obtaining permits.
He said Ireland remains an attractive place for workers and seeks to recruit workers from as far away as the United States, South Africa and Canada.
Mr Carey also said a bigger focus was on attracting domestic workers, encouraging school-leavers to take apprenticeship programs or take construction courses.