A new pilot scheme will help agri-businesses maintain a skilled workforce, a Fine Gael Minister has said.
Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle and has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Enterprise, Business and Innovation Heather Humphreys of a pilot labour permit scheme for the agriculture sector.
Minister Doyle said: “This pilot quota based scheme will address the immediate labour shortages in the horticulture meat processing and dairy industries in Wicklow and rural Ireland. This is a very positive move to ensure we have the manpower we need to meet our production needs.
“It will make it easier for certain businesses in the agri-food sector to source workers from outside the European Economic Area. Initially 800 permits will be issued nationally for this pilot scheme.
“As we approach full employment, it is essential that our businesses have the staff they need. The agri-food sector is a key source of employment and it has experienced significant export oriented growth in recent years.
“This measure will go some way to towards filling the labour gap. Here in Wicklow the value of agriculture exports is in excess of €225m and it is important that we continue to build on this success.
“These permits are only one piece of the jigsaw with regard to labour supply, ” the Fine Gael Minister said.