Non-EU farm workers must be paid at least €22k under new permit scheme
A new pilot, quota-based scheme to address immediate labour shortages in the horticulture, meat processing and dairy sectors has been announced.
A quota of 500 permits has been granted for horticulture workers, 250 for meat processing operatives and 50 for dairy farm assistants from outside the EEA.
Under the scheme employers must commit that the permit holder has access to suitable accommodation, and training, including language training;
The scheme also sets out a minimum remuneration threshold of €22,000 for a General Employment Permit for this cohort of migrant workers.
Under the new scheme additional permit quotas may be granted in response to actions taken by the sector to put in place strategies to source and retain labour supply from both the domestic and European labour markets and to invest in innovative technologies for the sector.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation says this scheme for the agri-sector can be facilitated within the existing primary legislative framework, although an amendment to the Employment Permit Regulations 2017 is required.
Regulations to amend the Employment Permit Regulations 2017 are being finalised at present. The changes will come into effect from Monday, 21st May 2018.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed underlined the importance of a new pilot quota of employment permits for the agri-food sector.