Review of employment permit regime to ‘prioritise the agricultural sector’

A review of policies underpinning the employment permit regime will prioritise the agricultural sector, a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has said.

This was one of the commitments given by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, when she met with a delegation from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) late last week.

The spokesperson explained that the minister is “acutely aware” of the issues relating to labour recruitment in the agricultural sector.

She outlined at the meeting that this was a priority for her and she has requested her officials undertake a review of policies underpinning the employment permit regime to ensure that it is supportive of the economy’s emerging labour market needs.

“In this regard, the minister has specifically asked that the review prioritise the agricultural sector in its deliberations, so that workable proposals can be brought forward for the sector at the earliest opportunity.”

The spring period is a particularly busy time on many farms, especially during the lambing and calving season.

Dairy sector requires 6,000 new people by 2025

Last year, a report published by Teagasc indicated that the Irish dairy sector would require 6,000 new people to enter dairy farming by 2025.

The report, ‘The People in Dairy Project’, was based on the future people requirements of Irish dairy farming over the next few years.

A total of 2,000 new employment opportunities will be created in the sector by 2025, while 4,000 other people will be needed to provide for the regeneration of existing dairy farmers, the report states.

It is feared that the dairy sector will face a severe shortage of new, young recruits in the next few years.