Hospitals, food processing companies, and big hitters in the tech and social media industry were among the largest employers of non-EU/EEA workers approved for an Irish employment permit in 2018, as the number of permits rose by 18 percent on the previous year.
The Irish Examiner reports that a total of 13,398 employment permits were issued in 2018, representing an increase of more than 2,000. With unemployment having decreased through 2018 and the rate hovering just above 5 percent at the beginning of 2019, employers have been looking beyond Irish shores to get the labour they need.
Employment permits are a popular way for Irish employers to bring in additional workers for specific needs during a labour shortage. As European Economic Area (the EU and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, plus Switzerland) workers can work in Ireland without needing such a permit, all employment permits go to non-EEA workers.
Minister for the department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys noted that the final quarter of 2018 had seen the highest number of employment permits issued in any quarter over the previous decade.
Google and Facebook brought in more than 200 workers each on employment permits last year. Both companies have expanded their Ireland-based operations over recent months and years, with Facebook having announced in January that it will hire an additional 1,000 people at its international headquarters in Dublin in 2019.
The Examiner reports that the single biggest employer of non-EEA workers on employment permits was Dawn Meats, which hired 296 individuals with permits, followed by business consultancy firm Accenture with 294.
Cork University Hospital welcomed 259 staff with employment permits, while other medical facilities including University Hospital Limerick, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda and Galway University Hospital each also employed around 200 non-EEA workers.
Around 92 percent of employment permit applications were accepted, with Indians obtaining around one-third of the total, followed by workers from Brazil, Pakistan, the United States and the Philippines. Applications were received from 107 different nationalities in total.
Rejection rates were relatively highest among applicants from Bangladesh, for whom around one-in-three applications were refused. Applicants from China, South Africa and Zimbabwe also experienced higher than average rejection rates, though most applications from these countries were actually accepted.