Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Questions (98)

Tom Neville

Question:

98. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a matter (details supplied) regarding work permits will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25788/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Ireland’s overarching labour market policy is to promote the sourcing of skills and labour needs from within the workforce of Ireland and the European Economic Area. As the economy improves and we approach full employment, labour as well as skills shortages are becoming apparent in some sectors with the consequent potential to constrict growth due to labour shortages.

In recognising the changing economy and labour market plus the challenges faced by enterprises in attracting sufficient labour, officials of my Department are undertaking a review of the economic migration policies underpinning the current employment permits system. The purpose of the review is to ensure that our policies are fully supportive of Ireland’s emerging labour market needs.

The review is overseen by an Inter-Departmental Group, chaired by this Department, and included a public and stakeholder consultation as well as an EU and international benchmarking exercise. A report is expected before the end of June with recommendations on a framework for the future operation of the employment permits regime.

The occupations of labourers, mechanics and carpenters are currently included on the ineligible list of employments for employment permit purposes. In order to remove an occupation from this list, there would need to be a clear demonstration that recruitment difficulties are solely due to shortages and not to other factors such as salary and/or working conditions.

To this end, the construction sector must engage with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, as the relevant lead Department for the sector, in the preparation of a detailed business case setting out the necessary data and evidence to demonstrate that recruitment difficulties are solely due to labour shortages and not to other factors. This business case would then need to be put forward to my Department as part of the ongoing regular reviews of the employment lists.

Details on how to apply for an employment permit, including the criteria required, as well as various checklist documents and a user guide which will assist in the application process are available from the Employment Permits section of my Department’s website – www.dbei.gov.ie. This section also includes a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions document which answers the majority of the most common queries received from applicants regarding employment permits. A helpline for information on the employment permit regime can be contacted on (01) 417 5333 or Locall 1890 201 616 and any e-mail queries can be directed to employmentpermits@dbei.gov.ie