The Government is to make changes to the work permit system to make allowances for an extra 300 workers to come to Ireland to fill positions in the area of customs duties and controls ahead of a possible Brexit. 

The changes will also see extra permits allowed in other areas that have labour shortages, including the construction and high-performance sports sectors.

Twice a year the Employments Permit system undergoes an evidence-based review by the Government to establish what skills are needed here from outside the European Economic Area. 

It is based on labour market conditions and submissions from sectors and other stakeholders, together with contextual factors, such as in this case, Brexit. 

Today the Minister for Business Heather Humphreys will announce significant changes following the latest review to address labour shortages in key sectors. 

Construction professionals including civil engineers, quantity surveyors and construction project managers, as well as high performance directors and coaches for high level sports organisations will now qualify for Critical Skills Employment Permits. 

General Employment Permits will also be on offer to welders, pipefitters, glaziers, scaffolders and crane drivers, as well as up to 250 plasterers and bricklayers. 

Minister Humphreys is also making allowances for an extra 300 freight forwarders, cargo and freight agents and brokerage clerks to come here to fill positions in the area of customs duties and controls, where it is thought demand could rise sharply if Brexit takes place.