Ireland operates a managed employment permit system through occupation lists, namely the critical skills and ineligible occupation lists, which are reviewed twice a year. This is an evidence-based process that takes account of labour market conditions and submissions from sectors and other stakeholders, together with contextual factors such as Brexit. The purpose of the system is to maximise the benefits of economic migration while minimising the risk of disrupting the Irish labour market.
In April, I approved changes to the employment permit system in respect of occupations in construction, sports and in the context of Brexit, I made allowances for an extra 300 workers to come to Ireland to fill positions in the area of customs duties and controls. These positions have been removed from the ineligible occupation list for employment permit purposes. The scheme allows workers from non-EEA countries to access employment opportunities here.
Currently the evidence is that there are no labour shortages for transport and distribution clerks or other logistics personnel. However, the evidence does suggest that in the event of Brexit, managed or otherwise, there will be an increased demand for those with skills to ensure the compliance in the area of customs duties, controls and tariffs. For this reason, as part of the Government’s overall contingency planning, I believe that to enable companies to plan to manage the changed circumstances, it is prudent to make access to a larger labour pool available.