Labour Permits

IFA Looking for Farm Workers to be Included in Critical Skills Occupation List

IFA is looking for farm workers to be categorised as critical skills for the purpose of securing work permits.

The Government has announced a review of the list of employers which would be placed on the Critical Skills Occupation List.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said IFA would be making a submission on this important issue.

“Across our farm sectors, there is huge pressure to source workers from outside the EU.  At a time of full employment, its increasingly difficult to source farm workers in Ireland and in the EU,” he said.

“Under the current system, if a farmer wants to bring in a non-EU worker, they must apply as a ‘production or site manager’ on the critical skills list, which is more costly and has a lot of additional red tape. Often, by the time the process is complete the worker, who must be identified at the beginning of the process, could have taken up work elsewhere. Then the farmer is out of pocket and s/he must start a new application from scratch again,” he said.

The dairy, pig, poultry and horticulture sectors are those most in need of extra workers.

The allocation of general employment permits for the horticulture sector is now fully utilised. Although these permits were not ideal for all horticulture sectors, they did provide some level of security for the sector.

The longstanding issue of labour availability is a key constraint for Irish horticulture and rapid changes must be made to ensure the sector has access to a continuous supply of employees.

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