Expanding The Employment Permits Regime, April 2013

Author:Mr Cian Beecher, Sarah Grace, Deborah Delahunt, Jacqueline Ho, Sarelle Buckley and Zelda Cunningham
Profession:Arthur Cox

In February 2013, the Irish Government announced proposals to increase the number of employment permits issued in order to attract more applications from highly skilled employees specifically in respect of the ICT sector. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton (the "Minister") stated that "it has been shown that there is a significant shortage of skilled employees in Ireland particularly in the Information Communications and Technology ("ICT") sector". He added that "the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (the "Department") is continuously examining ways in which our employment permits regime can be improved so as to ensure that Ireland remains competitive in attracting investments and jobs from companies in the ICT sector." Action Plan for Jobs 2013 The Action Plan for Jobs 2013 (the "Action Plan") published by the Department in February 2013 outlines a number of proposed improvements to the employment permits regime. The Action Plan states that it is the Government's ambition to increase the attractiveness of the employment permits scheme in Ireland resulting in 700 additional permits for the ICT sector in 2013. The Government proposes to achieve this in the following ways: Expanding the economic sectors for employment permits applications to allow for ICT professionals in all sectors of the economy; The introduction of a unified employment permits application e-form resulting in greater accuracy and better quality of data; Updating the application criteria for employment permits in order to reduce processing times by 33%; Considering the development of a 'trusted partner' registration system which will provide for the preregistration of prospective employers which will speed up the processing of applications. This will remove the need for duplicates of employers' credentials with each permit application and provide greater clarity to employers in terms of the permit application process; Reducing the wage threshold limit, where appropriate, for work permits in key skills area, such as ICT graduates and technical sales with foreign language skills; Aligning and updating the employment permits regime on an on-going basis with the findings of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, industry feedback and labour market trends; Simplifying the labour market needs test. Under the current system, a new application for a work permit must be accompanied by documentary evidence that a labour market needs test has been...

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