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Work permit conditions are liberalised to attract foreign job seekers to Ireland

DUBLIN: The government is preparing to amend the work permit conditions in Ireland with an amendment to the law to reduce the term of the “critical skills” work permit to one year.

Spokesmen for the Department of Enterprises told the Oireachtas Committee that the work permit conditions are set to be liberalised in order to attract more skilled foreign job seekers to Ireland.

With the critical skills visa reduced to one year, the government will implement a new law that will allow all categories of foreign workers coming to work in Ireland to bring their family members (partner and dependent children) with them. Under current law, workers from outside the European Union require an employment contract of two years or more to bring their spouse and children to Ireland. Moreover, they have to prove that they have enough income to protect them.

The new law will give the government special powers to issue work permits for skilled jobs that are not yet on the list, depending on the special needs.

The current list of critical skills work permits in the country includes IT professionals, nurses, doctors, architects and top sports coaches. (Check out the link below the news for a complete list).

In addition, the partner will be issued a work permit upon arrival in Ireland.

The new legislation would allow the government to grant work permits to people with very rare occupational skills, such as taking sinews from animal hearts and using them to make musical instruments. A company in the Midlands needed a “heart strings butcher”. But this professional could not be granted a permit as it was not on the current list of critical skills.

However, the Department of Enterprise points out that with the coming of the new legislation, the government can issue permits in such cases considering the special circumstances.

Fiona Ward, a principal officer in the Department of Enterprise, told the Oireachtas Enterprise committee last week that the change was part of the flexibility that the government is trying to bring to the new work permit law.

Sinn Féin enterprise spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly said she fully support the change. But she said it was worrying that not a single job had been removed from the list since the law was enacted in 2012. “If you look at that list. It’s the same skills, over and over again. Why are we not doing even online courses to meet a labour market demand, instead of a rush maybe to look elsewhere?” she asked.

Last year, Ireland issued 16,000 work permits to non-EU workers. About 31 percent of the permits were in the health sector. Permits were issued for 28% in the IT sector and 11% in the agricultural sector.

Critical Skills work permit list


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