The Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) is an agreement with other governments which allows young people of both countries to fund an extended holiday through temporary work. My colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade has responsibility for the Working Holiday Authorisation scheme on the basis of the reciprocal arrangements agreed for Irish citizens travelling and working in these other States.
A person who holds a WHA is required to obtain permission from my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality to enter, reside and work (under the terms of the WHA) in the State. This permission allows the foreign national to work as per the terms of the WHA. It is a condition of the WHA that the foreign national leave the State on expiration of their permission. Questions relating to immigration permission fall under the remit of the Department of Justice and Equality.
Upon expiration of the WHA, and after they have left the State, a foreign national may submit an application for an employment permit, on foot of an eligible job offer, which will be considered subject to the usual criteria applying under the Employment Permits Acts and Regulations.
As the economy improves and we approach full employment, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) has experienced a high volume of employment permit applications which has led to some delays in processing applications.
The Employment Permits Section in my Department is working to reduce the current waiting times of four weeks for applications from Trusted Partners, who are regular users of the service and account for 71% of total permits issued, and thirteen weeks for Standard applications, which account for 29% of permits issued. Applicants continue to be advised to apply for the employment permit 12 weeks in advance of the expected start date to minimize the impact of the current extended processing timelines on recruitment timeframes.