What is the change? Ireland’s Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has announced a pilot quota-based work permit scheme to address labor shortages in the horticulture, meat processing and dairy industries.

What does the change mean? Employers in the agri-food sector will be able to apply for 800 work permits for low-skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area starting Monday. The work permits are divided by industry, with 500 permits for the horticulture industry, 250 for the meat processing industry and 50 for the dairy industry. Employees must be given suitable accommodation and training and be paid a minimum of €22,000 per year.

  • Implementation time frame: Starting May 21.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Low-skilled non-EEA workers in the horticulture, meat processing and dairy industries.
  • Business impact: The change will address immediate shortages of low-skilled employees in the specified industries.

Background: In April, DBEI sought comments and recommendations from employers and other stakeholders on how to address Ireland’s skills and labor shortages. A full report on the work permit system is expected later this year.

BAL Analysis: The pilot is a positive indicator of work permit changes that may benefit employers who hire low-skilled workers and are affected by the current labor shortages.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

Copyright © 2018 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact