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Government plans to reform Ireland’s employment permits system

DUBLIN: The Government is to make changes to the employment permits system in Ireland. A new law will be published in the autumn, with the aim of better responding to changing labour market needs. The government aims to modernize and make the permit system more flexible by introducing seasonal work permits.

The changes to the permit system are aimed at attracting highly skilled workers from outside Europe to Ireland. The government also believes that this will solve the shortage of skilled workers in the Irish labour market.

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English is working on the new law, which is expected to come into force in September-November.

Seasonal employment permit system

A seasonal employment permit will be implemented as part of the new law. It will also enable subcontractors to access the employment permit system. The law will include improved labour market tests and additional eligibility requirements for employment permits, modified to meet employer needs.

“The new Employment Permits Bill will allow us to better compete for global talent, to fill labour market gaps, to support local enterprises and to encourage foreign direct investment while at the same time protecting the rights of workers in the State,” Minister Damian English said.

Looking for three categories of workers

For the purposes of the work permit system, occupations are classified into three categories: critical skills occupations, occupations that do not require skills and qualifications (Ineligible Occupations), and occupations that require a labour market needs test.

Critical skilled workers will have to be sourced from the resident labour force. Workers in ineligible occupations must be recruited from the EEA or Ireland. If workers are not available in both of these categories, newspaper advertisements and market tests should be carried out to find workers in the third category. Employers can also apply for employment permits for workers.

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