Non-EU work permit controls eased

Changes to the work permit system will see restrictions on non-EU worker numbers in construction and sports coaching eased in order to tackle labour shortages, the Government has said.

Non-EU work permit controls eased

Changes to the work permit system will see restrictions on non-EU worker numbers in construction and sports coaching eased in order to tackle labour shortages, the Government has said.

The Department of Business also said 300 permits in customs controls would be granted in anticipation of Brexit and the possible workload ahead.

Civil engineers, quantity surveyors, construction project managers, and mechanical and electrical engineers will be added to the so-called "critical skills list of occupations" list.

Non-EU sports coaches will also be greenlit for high-performance director and coaching roles for what the department called "high-level sports organisations", including Olympic and Paralympic codes.

The department did not clarify if there would be a maximum amount of non-EU worker permits issued to the roles added under the critical skills category.

Up to 500 plasterers and bricklayers will be granted permits between them after being added to the "general employment permit" category.

Trades such as sheet metal work, welding, pipefitting and scaffolding were also added to the general employment category, along with career guidance teaching, but there was no quota imposed.

Business Minister Heather Humphreys said the changes would help "ease pressure" in construction.

She said:

"There is still a significant supply gap and companies are experiencing real skills shortages."

Ms Humphreys said it was "necessary to recruit and retain highly-skilled candidates" in Olympic and Paralympic disciplines as Ireland competed on the world stage.

Construction Industry Federation (CIF) director general Tom Parlon said the easing of permits for non-EU "construction specialists" would "allow the Irish economy to grow" and reach targets set out in the national development plan.

Engineers Ireland said the move would assist a skills shortage that 94% of engineering employers said was the main barrier to business growth.

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