A record number of employment work permits were issued for the agriculture sector last year, with 4,311 permits issued for the sector.
The month of April saw 1,407 permits issued, the highest number issued compared with any other month.
The country’s meat factories are big users of the work permit facility.
Dawn Meats was issued with 672 permits last year, while Dawn Farm Foods received 31 workers via the permit system.
Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) used 418 work permits, while the ABP Group-owned Slaney Foods and Irish Country Meats (ICM) received 156 and 130 workers respectively under the system.
Kepak received 295 workers, while Liffey Meats received 229.
The use of the work permit system is much lower in the dairy processing sector compared with the meat sector.
For example, Glanbia Cheese, Glanbia Ireland, Glanbia Management Services and Glanbia Nutritionals received three, eight, 15 and one worker under the system.
There are also a number of dairy farms listed that received a worker or two in 2022 under the system.
The number of work permits issued last peaked in 2020, with 1,786 issued. In 2021, some 888 permits were issued for the sector.
In 2019 and 2018, some 785 and 587 permits were issued respectively.