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There will be further amendments to Ireland’s work permit laws……

Dublin: There may be further amendments to Ireland’s work permit laws. The government intends to improve employment permit laws by including more flexible provisions that take into account the country’s modern suitability and requirements. The new work permit bill emphasises modernisation while also giving the minister more authority.

The Employment Permit Bill 2022 was published by the government last year. The bill seeks to unify existing laws and bring Ireland’s employment permit system in line with the changing labour market.

The 50% limit may be increased.

The new law will almost certainly amend the existing Irish law by requiring that 50% of the total workforce be removed from the EU, including Ireland, and change the Irish/non-EEA – non-Irish parity provisions. As a result, at least large employers will be able to hire non-Irish workers above the 50% limit.

However, it will also ensure that the overarching immigration policy of first offering vacancies reported in Ireland to Irish and EEA nationals is maintained.

The bill also proposes to implement automatic salary indexation for occupations, with the salary threshold for work permits based on the occupation offered.

It’s interesting that the bill allows for automatic indexation of salary ranges for specific occupations, despite the fact that it appears rigid.

In contrast, Britain’s Home Office uses a salary index in addition to a general salary cap when setting salary limits for visas as part of its points-based immigration system.

The labour market needs test may be modified.

In addition, the bill proposes revising the current labour market needs test. The bill may remove the requirement to advertise vacancies in a national newspaper and instead only advertise on two online platforms.

The salary index.

Using data from the Central Statistics Office, the bill aims to create a salary index similar to Ireland’s employment permit system.

However, some supervision may be required because the salary index is likely to be lower than the national minimum wage for some occupations.

Last year’s bill featured a seasonal employment permit designed to facilitate the employment of non-EEA nationals engaged in repetitive occupations. The government is expected to simplify this by including more conditions in the new bill.

Employment permits for subcontractors.

There will be a provision to issue employment permits to subcontractors, which were previously given only to the main contractor. In addition, the bill seeks to modernise the permit system. As the labour market evolves, modernisation aims to continuously and easily amend the law.

More powers to the Minister.

The bill proposes to quickly identify critical occupations, occupations that are not eligible for permits, and occupations that are experiencing labour shortages, and to amend and expand the minister’s powers as a result.

At present, it is only authorised to issue general employment permits and seasonal employment permits. This is expected to be extended to other types of employment permits as well.

Indications are that the minister will also have the authority to prescribe conditions for increasing skills, qualifications, and work experience for employees without employment permits.

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