Written Answers. - Work Permits.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

93 Mr. Crawford asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the plans she has to increase the scheduled exceptions for non-EU nationals from visa requirements and work permit restrictions when visiting here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6997/01]

Work permits are not required for the following categories of non-nationals in order to take up employment in this State: a citizen of a member state of the European Economic Area – European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – and, where such a person is pursuing an activity as an employed or self-employed person within the State, his or her spouse and any of their children who are under the age of 21 or are dependent on the EEA citizen; persons who have been granted refugee status in the State by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform; post graduate students where the work is an integral part of the study being undertaken; non-EEA workers who have been legally employed in another member state for at least one year, who are temporarily sent to this Sate to carry out a contract of work for their employer; persons who have been granted permission by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to remain in the State on any one of the following grounds – per mission to remain as the spouse of an Irish national and permission to remain as the parent of an Irish born child, temporary leave to remain on humanitarian grounds, having been in the asylum process; persons who are posted on an intra-corporate transfer/secondment for a maximum period of four years to an establishment or undertaking in Ireland which is owned by a company or group which has operations in more than one State; and persons coming to Ireland from an overseas company for a maximum period of three years for training, whether it entails remunerated work, at an Irish based company.

It should be noted that over 18,000 work permits were issued last year which shows that the scheme is responsive to business needs. In addition I introduced in June last a new scheme whereby non-EEA nationals in certain designated categories of occupation may come to Ireland, on foot of an offer of employment from an Irish employer, to work for a period of up to two years. In such cases employers do not have to apply for work permits and non nationals in the sectors concerned, information and computing technologies professionals and technicians, construction professionals and registered nurses, can make application themselves to the Irish embassy or consulate in the country concerned for a work visa/authorisation to come to Ireland.

My Department is prepared to consider how the working visa/authorisation arrangements might be extended to additional sectors, as appropriate. I have established an immigration policy advisory committee which includes the social partners and the advice of the committee will be sought in regard to any specific proposals for extension or amendment of this scheme.