The Irish Government, in its Action Plan for Jobs published in February 2013, set out its strategy to make Ireland "the best small country in which to do business and as a consequence, retain and create sustainable jobs". As part of its Action Plan, the Irish Government is aiming to make Ireland the most attractive location in the world for ICT skills availability thereby ensuring the continued success of the Irish ICT sector. In order to accomplish this, the Government is focusing on ICT education both at secondary and third level. However, the Government has also acknowledged the global shortage of ICT skills professionals stating that according to the European Commission Digital Data, there will be 700,000 ICT vacancies in the European Union by 2015.
Allied to its commitment to develop ICT education, the Government has committed to undertake a series of action points to attract the necessary ICT skills from abroad, all of which relate to increasing the attractiveness of the current employment permits' system resulting in 700 additional ICT employment permits in 2013. Given that only 5,200 employment permits in total were issued in 2012, the significance of this commitment cannot be overstated.
Action Plan for Jobs - Action Points
The relevant action points are as follows:
The introduction of a new unified e-form application for employment permits; Aligning and updating the system on an on-going basis with the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs' findings, industry feedback and labour market trends; Updating the application criteria to reduce processing times by one-third; Expanding the economic sectors for employment permit applications to allow for ICT professionals in all sectors of the economy rather than in the IT sector only; Reducing the wage threshold limit, where appropriate, for Work Permits in key skills areas (e.g. ICT graduates and technical sales with foreign language skills); Simplifying the labour market needs test (the requirement to advertise job positions in advance of submitting Work Permit applications); Assessing the case for expansion of the eligibility of residency permissions under the employment permit schemes; Considering pre-registering prospective employers with a view to speeding up processing and reducing the administrative burden; Reviewing the outcome of improvements to the employment permits application system; Developing a communications campaign in order to present clear options as...