Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (261)

Jim Daly


261. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the criteria and process for a work permit giving particular details regarding the visa status required at the date of application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11494/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

In order to work in Ireland a non-EEA National (unless exempted) must, under the terms of the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006, hold a valid employment permit. It is an offence under the above mentioned legislation for both an employer and an employee to be party to the employment of a non-EEA national without a valid employment permit. Either the employer or employee may apply for an employment permit. The issue of an employment permit requires a job offer from a prospective employer.

In terms of general eligibility new employment permit applications are normally only considered for highly skilled, highly paid positions or for positions where there is an officially recognised scarcity of supply in relation to a particular qualification or occupation type. Irish labour market policy is to ensure that general labour and skills needs are met from within the workforce of the European Economic Area (EEA). Current Government policy is to issue employment permits for the employment of non-EEA nationals for specific vacancies and in response to employer demand for strategic skills and labour shortages in designated occupations in key economic sectors such as healthcare, information technology and financial services. Eligibility criteria are set out on my Department’s website.

The holder of an employment Permit is permitted only to work for the employer and in the employment stated on the permit. Should the employee named on the permit, for any reason, cease to be employed by the employer and in the employment stated on the permit during the period of validity specified, the permit and any copies thereof must be returned immediately to the Employment Permits Section .

There are four main Employment Permit categories, i.e. Work Permits, Green Cards, Spousal Dependent Permits, and Intra Company Transfer Permits. While requirements vary from one employment permit category to another, in general terms each employment permit application must be made on the appropriate application form, include the appropriate processing fee, details of the employer’s registration with Revenue and Companies Registration Office, colour copies of the employee’s passport, and finally, confirmation of the employee’s immigration status in cases where the employee is residing in the State. When a third country national who has been issued with an employment permit arrives in this State they must produce their valid employment permit at the point of entry. They are then given a landing stamp facilitating entry. However the onus lies on the permit holder to contact INIS (the Irish Naturalisation Service) with a view to finalising their immigration status.

Finally, I should advise the Deputy that in response to changes in the Irish labour market, the desire to enhance the user friendly profile of the process and in particular to address shortages in certain employment categories my Department is finalising a review of all Employment Permit related practice and procedures. This review addresses all aspects of Employment Permit policy and administration, its rules in respect of the processing of permits as well as a reappraisal of the eligible categories of employment in respect of which permit applications will be considered. I will be making a statement shortly with regard to the improvements to be made.