Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ceisteanna (114)

Niall Collins


114. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on issues raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding employment permits and non-EEA workers. [18113/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The employment of all non-EEA nationals in the State is governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003 – 2014. Under this legislation in order to work in the State all non-EEA nationals require a valid employment permit or relevant immigration permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality which allows them to reside and work in the State without the requirement for an employment permit.

Ireland operates a managed employment permits system which maximises the benefits of economic migration while minimising the risk of disrupting the domestic labour market. In order to ensure that the system is responsive to the changes in economic circumstances and labour market conditions, the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL) for employment permit purposes are reviewed on a twice yearly basis.

Following a review of the Highly Skilled and Ineligible lists of Employment earlier this year certain chef grades were removed from the ineligible occupation list. This means that if an employer is unsuccessful in filling a vacancy either domestically or from across the European Economic Area (EEA) it can be filled by a suitably qualified non- EEA national.

The review was evidence based on independent labour market analysis carried out by the relevant state agency. The removal of certain chef grades from the ineligible lists will ensure that there is a mechanism to address the identified shortage of qualified chefs in the short-term. A quota of 610 permits has been applied to ensure that in the longer term the demand for chefs is met from a steady supply in the Irish labour market and to that end work is underway to increase the supply of chefs through training initiatives such as the development of a new Commis Chef Apprenticeship and a Chef de Partie Apprenticeship.

It is also imperative that the employment permits system remains correctly oriented to meet the State’s emerging labour market needs, be they labour or skills shortages. Consequently, my Department is undertaking a review of our economic migration policy. An Inter Departmental Group to steer the review has been established with a report expected by the end of June 2018.

In order to safeguard the employment opportunities of Irish/EEA nationals, significant restrictions exist on the granting of employment permits The Workplace Relations Commission are authorised to carry out inspections, examinations or investigations for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing compliance with employment legislation. In respect of the alleged abuses of the Employment Permits Acts my officials will make contact with the above named person with a view to seeking more information in order to investigate the matters raised.

Any queries relating to Immigration permissions and visas are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, and should be directed to that Department. If the above named person has any specific information relating to any criminal offence that person can contact the confidential Gardaí free phone number on 1800 25 00 25.