Neale Richmond, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, has introduced a new quota of General Employment Permits for lineworkers. 100 permits have been approved to help relieve the pressure on the ESB Networks’ overhead line framework contractors.
Minister Richmond said, “I am delighted to announce a quota of 100 General Employment Permits for the role of lineworker. Opening this quota will go a long way in helping the ESB Networks and their contractors achieve government priorities including the Climate Action Plan 2023 and Housing for All. As we have reached full employment, with over 2.6 million people at work in Ireland, there are some skillsets that are increasingly difficult for businesses to access, and these Lineworkers are a prime example. Where these skills are lacking both in Ireland and throughout Europe, the Employment Permits system allows us to source these workers from the rest of the world.”
“Cases like this show how responsive the Employment Permits system is and how it can benefit both businesses, workers, and the people of Ireland. While the Employment Permits system can help compensate for skills that cannot be found in Ireland and the EEA, the government is focused on addressing these skill shortages at home through the delivery of apprenticeships and training programmes for workers.”
The role of Lineworker is a specialised role in the construction and maintenance of overhead electrical transmission and distribution facilities that deliver electrical energy to industrial, commercial, and residential premises. The new quota, which came into effect from 4 September follows constructive engagement between the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, and ESB Networks over recent months, which reviewed workforce challenges in the energy and communications sectors, and is vital in supporting ESB Networks in achieving their role in accelerating the transition to a net zero carbon society.
The department is facilitating this change to amend the employment permits regulations in addition to the current review of the occupations lists which is currently underway. The public consultation closed on 18 August and submissions are now under active review and deliberations with relevant government departments and the Inter Departmental Group on Economic Migration Policy will begin over the course of the next few weeks. The outcome of this review will be implemented by further amendment to regulation in due course and further announcements will be made once that process is complete.