Written Answers. - Work Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

47 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of applications for work permits currently on hand and awaiting a decision; the relevant or corresponding numbers in 2000; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17622/01]

The number of applications for work permits on hand at the end of May 2001 not yet processed amounted to 4,500. The comparable figure for May 2000 was 1,500, while the figure at the end of December 2000 was 1,900.

The number of applications being received in my Department continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. The number has increased from an average of 600 per week at the end of 2000 to an average of 1,000 a week currently and rising. Over 400 applications were received in one day alone in the past week compared to a recent average of 200 per day.

Increases in staff resources and overtime working have facilitated the issue of over 14,000 work permits in the first five months of 2001 compared to 4,175 which were issued in the same period last year.