Nearly 40% of construction companies here have hired Irish workers returning from abroad, according to an industry survey.

The study commissioned by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) found that family was the main reason for people returning with 0% giving pay as the motivating factor.

The CIF says 86% of companies have difficulty getting skilled tradespeople and the federation has said there is a potential shortfall of 100,000 workers up to 2020.

It says members want the Government to do more to remove barriers for returning workers such as the lack of recognition for qualifications obtained overseas.

"At a time, when wages in the industry are increasing, and demand for skilled construction workers is very strong as we struggle with a housing crisis, government inaction in this area is problematic" said director of safety and training with CIF Dermot Carey.

He added that 50,000 jobs have been created in the construction industry since the lowest point of the recession in 2013 and that this is testament to a "strong pipeline of work" for the next 20 years.

The survey found that 37% of construction companies had hired workers returning from abroad - 65% of the workers gave family as the reason for returning with just 24% coming back for job opportunities and 0% citing pay rates.

Nearly half - 19% - of the companies who have hired returning workers deliberately targeted them.

Half the companies said there were no challenges bringing people back but 19% said the waiting time for returning workers was a problem while 19% complained of "a difference in work attitude and culture" and 13% felt red tape was a barrier.

Mr Carey said that attracting the diaspora is a short-term solution but long-term there is a need for more young people to learn a trade.