Dail Chamber

Written answers
Thursday, 18 April 2019

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Work Permits Data

Photo of John DeasyJohn Deasy (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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148. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of employment permits taken up by horticultural workers, meat processing operatives and dairy farm assistants; if the quota of work permits provided for each has been taken up; if not, her plans to allocate the unused permits to pig farm production units that are finding it increasingly difficult to fill vacant positions with persons from the EU; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18102/19]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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In May 2018 a pilot scheme of employment permit quotas for dairy farm assistants, horticulture workers and meat processing operatives was put in place. To date this pilot scheme has proved very successful with a total of 1,479 out of the total quota of 2,050 permits having issued broken down as follows:

– Meat Processing Operatives 1,500 of which 1,339 permits have issued.

– Horticulture 500 of which 91permits have issued.

– Dairy Farm Assistant 50 of which 49permits have issued.

These quotas were provided following a comprehensive review of data and evidence available and the submission of a business case by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on behalf of the sector. The quotas are specific to each occupation mentioned and are not transferable to any other occupation.

The role of Pig Farmer is currently on the Ineligible Occupations List however this may be reviewed in the future should the appropriate research and evidence indicates labour shortages across the EEA. A submission was made to the most recent review of the occupations lists on behalf of the Pig Farmer occupation however available research does not indicate a shortage of labour in the sector. It is proposed that the sector provide more information, in particular, detailed evidence of efforts to recruit from within the EEA for consideration during the next review. This could include, for example, evidence of engagement with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection/EURES (European Employment Services) employment network.

The views of the lead policy Government Department for the sector, in this case, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, are an important part of the decision-making process.

The next review of the Occupations Lists is due to commence over the next few weeks when submissions to the next public consultation phase will be invited from interested parties.