HomeBussiness150 new work permits announced for sea fishers

150 new work permits announced for sea fishers

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The Government has announced a new quota of 150 employment permits for sea fishers in a bid to address skills shortages in the Irish fishing fleet.

It means that the role of sea fisher in the Irish fishing fleet is now eligible for a General Employment Permit with a minimum salary requirement of €34,000, up to a quota of 150 permits.

In 2015, the Department of Justice established an Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) for fishers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to address claims of exploitation and trafficking of undocumented non-EEA workers on certain categories of vessels in the Irish fishing fleet.

The new quota of permits was introduced following a recommendation by a cross-governmental group to move the role of sea fisher from the AWS to the Employment Permit System.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said it consulted with sectoral and migrant worker representatives and that consultation process informed the inclusion of non-EEA sea fishers in the employment permit system and its associated regulations.

“Opening this quota will help address labour shortages in this important sector,” said Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Emer Higgins.

“As we have reached full employment with over 2.7 million people at work here, there are some skills that are increasingly difficult for employers to access in Ireland and across the EEA, and sea fisher is a prime example,” Ms Higgins said.

“This is a really positive development as non-EEA sea fishers will now have access to the same benefits and protections as other non-EEA nationals employed in the State, particularly in terms of entitlements and protections,” she added.

The Department said that moving the role of sea fisher to the Employment Permit System will streamline the permission process and make it easier to recruit non-EEA sea fishers.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which advocates for migrant fishers, welcomed the announcement.

“The inclusion of fishers in the General Employment Permit scheme and the associated minimum salary of €34,000 represents a significant increase on the minimum salary associated with the old atypical scheme for non-EEA fishers,” Michael O’Brien from the Fisheries Section of the ITF said.

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