Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (306)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

306. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to update the Employment Permits Act 2006; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5436/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Ireland's economic migration policy provides the framework within which the State's employment permit system is managed. In response to our transformed economy and labour market, I requested my Department to undertake a fundamental review of the policies underpinning our employment permits system to ensure it is aligned with our current and emerging needs. The Review, which was published in September 2018, was overseen by an Interdepartmental Group (IDG) of senior officials of a number of Government Departments.

The report confirms that the current employment permits system is robust and has served the country well in recent years. It also highlights, in the context of strong employment growth, new pressures are emerging that need to be addressed and that some adjustments are needed so that the system continues to ensure that Ireland can attract highly skilled foreign workers and respond to proven labour shortages that arise in lower skilled occupations.

The recommendations include structural adjustments to the system to allow it to respond to a greater range of employment circumstances and to be more flexible so that it can keep pace with evolving enterprise requirements over time.

A number of the recommendations can be implemented either by administrative adjustments or by amendments to secondary legislation. This include changes to the process of reviewing the occupational lists, the remuneration thresholds, the labour market needs test and the 50:50 rule.

However in the medium term, amendments to primary legislation will be brought forward in order to facilitate the creation of a new seasonal permit type, as well as some adjustments to criteria built into the current legislation, including the labour market needs test as currently constituted and increasing the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's engagement in this process. Work has commenced on the implementation of the review's recommendations, including scoping out the legislative changes required through both primary and secondary legislation.