Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, has announced proposed changes to the Irish employment permit system that will seek to enhance the process for newcomers from outside the EEA looking to move to Ireland. It should be noted that at this time the proposals are just that, proposals, but if the bill makes it through the relevant stages of the legislative process in Ireland then it has the potential to streamline the application process significantly.
The changes proposed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation are contained in the General Scheme of the Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill 2019, and according to the department, the primary aim of this bill is to allow the Irish government to be more responsive and agile when dealing with changing economic circumstances as they arise.
Speaking on the bill’s publication, Minister Humphreys had this to say:
“The proposed legislation will increase the agility and responsiveness of Ireland’s economic migration system to meet skills and labour needs, while continuing to safeguard the labour market and support the employment rights of permit holders. I want to modernise the system and ensure that it is capable of adapting to changes in the future as well as fluctuations in demand across the economic cycle.”
When assessed in more detail, we can see that Minister Humphreys’ bill will aim to do the following:
- Streamlining the processes for ‘trusted partner’ and renewal applications,
- Improving the agility of the system by moving operational processes to regulation for easier modification, as circumstances require,
- A change to allow the 50:50 rule, which requires that 50 percent of an employer’s staff be EEA nationals before an Irish employment permit may be granted, be waived in all cases where the permit holder would be the sole employee. However, it should be noted that this change is subject to the employer demonstrating that they have made efforts to recruit from within Ireland and across the EEA in the first instance. The redrafting will impose the 50:50 requirement from the point at which a second employee is contracted.
In addition, this new draft bill make provisions for the introduction of a seasonal Irish employment permit aimed at those working in the short-stay and recurrent employment sectors including tourism, farming and horticulture. If implemented, this change will allow even more newcomers to live and work on the Emerald Isle.
Speaking on the potential seasonal employment permit changes, Minister Humphreys said:
“Among other things, I am proposing to introduce a seasonal employment permit. Ireland is an outlier in not having this permit type, and I want to better cater for short-stay and recurrent employment in sectors like horticulture, farming and tourism.”
“In addition, I am providing for an extensive revision of the Labour Market Needs Test. This is a requirement whereby employers need to firstly advertise vacancies within Ireland and across the European Economic Area (EEA).”
Finally, the new bill being brought forward by Minister Humphreys also intends to introduce a Special Circumstances Employment Permit. This proposed bill would allow for bilateral reciprocal agreements between Ireland and other states and could be used, for example, to address a need for a niche, but critically important skillset, for which no formal training is available in Ireland.
As we have outlined in the past, the primary aim of Irish government policy when it comes to the labour market is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills from within Ireland, the EU and other EEA states first and from there look at alternatives from further afield. Permits for highly skilled personnel from outside the EEA can be granted where the requisite skills cannot be met by normal recruitment or by training and generally fall into two main categories: Critical Skills and General Employment Permits, although other options do exist.
We will continue to monitor the development of the bill as it progresses through the Irish legislative process, and will make sure you’re the first to know of any further developments. In the meantime, why not check our detailed page on Irish Employment Permits as well as our broader Employment section where you can find tips that may help you land your dream job in Ireland.
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