I propose to take Questions Nos. 230 and 231 together.
I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it is open to any visa required national to apply for a visa for any purpose. Each visa application is considered on its individual merits with the Visa Officer having regard to all of the information and documentation available. The onus rests at all times with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer that the visa sought should be granted.
All applications for employment visas are processed as a priority irrespective of the occupation or of the applicants nationality, and are generally processed within a few weeks of being received. Guidelines on how to apply for particular types of visas are available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie.
The Deputy may wish to note that one of the requirements for being granted an employment visa is that the applicant has a current employment permit. This is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, who recently announced changes to the employment permits system for workers from outside the EEA area. I understand these are due to come into effect in May and will allow for a number of construction-related occupations to apply for general work permits.