Written answers

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Labour Market

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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210. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 164 of 15 September 2021, the actions that have been completed in his Department since 14 June 2021 with regard to the situation being kept under review; the actions specifically regarding the horticulture sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46713/21]

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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As previously advised, policy responsibility for food production is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The State's employment permit system is designed to supplement Ireland's skills and labour supply over the short to medium term by allowing enterprises to recruit nationals from outside the EEA, where such skills or expertise cannot be sourced from within the EEA at that time.

As already outlined, the employment permits system is managed through the use of lists designating highly skilled and ineligible occupations. The lists are reviewed twice a year to ensure their ongoing relevance to the State’s human capital requirements. The lists are subject to twice yearly evidenced based reviews which are guided by research undertaken by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) and the Skills and the Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS, a public consultation process, input from the relevant policy Departments and the Economic Migration Inter-Departmental Group, chaired by the Department. Account is also taken of contextual factors such as Brexit and, in the current context, COVID 19 and their impact on the labour market. Officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, are represented on the Economic Migration Interdepartmental Group.

In order to add or remove an occupation from the lists, evidence is sought demonstrating that recruitment difficulties are solely due to genuine shortages across the EEA and not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions. Sectors are also required to engage structurally with the public employment service of the Department of Social Protection. The review process invites stakeholders, through the public consultation, to provide data to substantiate claims of lack of skills or labour available in a detailed evidence-based business case.

A review of the occupation lists commenced with a public consultation on 1st July. The closing date for receipt of submissions was 12th August and 26 were received from a range of sectors including the horticulture sector. As outlined above the review process involves engagement with the relevant policy Departments as well as consideration of the submissions and available labour market research by the Economic Migration Interdepartmental Group which is currently underway. It is expected that the review will be finalised in the early Autumn.


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