The financial services sector has over the past twenty years been one of the pillars of the Irish economy while it has enjoyed unprecedented growth. Since its inception the investment funds industry alone has funds under management with a net asset value in excess of one trillion Euro. Having experienced 35% growth in 2005 and in excess of 20% during 2006 the growth is set to continue during 2007. There are currently over 9,000 people employed in the investment funds industry in Ireland and this combined with increased employment levels in other financial services areas reaffirms the importance of the sector to the Irish economy.
One consequence of any growing industry is a subsequent increase in demand for appropriately skilled labour to meet the high levels of service demanded by clients. While recruitment of staff from other EU Member States has provided for some of the shortfall it is necessary to tap into the pool of potential candidates in non-EU countries to ensure the continued delivery of excellent service.
Industry representative bodies made submissions to the Department of+ Enterprise, Trade and Employment (the "Department") prior to the publication of the Green Card Permit Scheme announced by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (the "Minister") on 24th January, 2007. No doubt those bodies will be heartened to see their wish list of occupations faithfully reproduced in the published guidelines. These efforts should ensure that the continued growth and capacity of the financial services sector will not be jeopardised by an inability to recruit sufficient numbers of suitably qualified employees.
Details of the Green Card Permit Scheme and other recently announced initiatives are set out below.
Green Card Permits
The new Green Card Permit scheme allows a foreign national to be employed by a named employer in a specified occupation. The new arrangements will also allow employees to apply for immediate family reunification and will permit applications for permanent residency after two years. The usual "market needs" test will not be applied.
Where the annual salary (excluding bonuses) is Ä60,000 or more, the Green Card is available for all occupations. Where the annual salary ranges from Ä30,000 - Ä59,999 a Green Card is available for a restricted number of important occupations. There are a wide number of occupations relevant to the financial services sector included in this list of important occupations...