The employment permit system is managed through the operation of the critical skills and ineligible occupation lists for the purposes of granting an employment permit. The occupation lists are reviewed twice yearly to ensure that the employment permit system is supportive of the economy by maximising the benefits of economic migration and minimising any disruption to the domestic/EEA labour market
In April 2017, following a review of the occupation lists, HGV drivers are removed from the ineligible list and provision was made in the Employment Permit Regulations for employment permits to be granted, subject to a quota of 120, to HGV drivers who meet the criteria and are in possession of a valid CE or C1E driving licence. To date 88 permits have issued to qualified HGV drivers.
In addition, in April 2019 provision was made in the Employment Permit Regulations for the Transport and Distribution Clerks and Assistants to be removed from the ineligible occupation list, subject to a quota of 300, in the context of Brexit. The evidence suggests that in the event of Brexit, managed or otherwise, there will be a sharp increase in demand for these skills. For this reason, as part of the Government’s overall contingency planning, it was prudent to make these extra allowances.
My officials engage regularly with Industry Representatives bodies and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sports, as the lead policy Department, to ensure that the labour and skill challenges in the sector are reflected in the twice yearly review process.