Today, as Ireland is expecting Brexit to cause “a sharp increase in demand” for customs employees, the country announced that it will relax its employment rules to allow up to 300 such workers to come from outside the European Union.
The workers in the transport and distribution sector, including cargo agents and freight forwarders, will now be eligible to be granted a standard employment permit in the country.
While there are currently “no labour shortages” in the said field, the business minister of Ireland, Heather Humphries, stated: “The evidence suggests that in the event of Brexit, managed or otherwise, there will be a sharp increase in demand for these skills.”
She also announced the addition of various new occupations to the “critical skills list” of the country.
Construction project managers, quantity surveyors, civil engineers, and some types of electrical and mechanical engineers from countries that are outside of the European Union will now qualify for a special class of employment permits.
While the construction sector of Ireland is booming, it is also enduring from an acute skills shortage.
The economy of Ireland crashed during the 2008 financial crisis when the huge real estate bubble of the country burst. Skilled workers in the construction sector immediately left Ireland for elsewhere.
Humphries stated: “During the recent economic downturn, it suffered more than most and many skilled workers left Ireland to find opportunities abroad.”
She added: “I am aware that the sector is actively seeking to encourage many of these workers back to take up jobs in Ireland but despite those efforts, there is still a significant supply gap and companies are experiencing real skills shortages.”
Various types of occupations — including crane drivers, pipe fitters, sheet metal workers, and even career guidance teachers — will also be entitled to be granted a standard employment permit when they had previously been ineligible.
The changes are set to come into effect later this April. The rules for non-EU workers are re-evaluated twice a year.