Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Ceisteanna (142)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

142. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps being taken to increase the speed at which work permits are issued; and the number of outstanding work permits at the end of each of the past five months that remain to be processed by sector in tabular form. [27197/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As the economy improves and we approach full employment my Department has experienced a high volume of employment permit applications which has led to some delays in processing applications.

At the end of May 2019 there was a 16% increase in the number of applications received (7,407 applications received) over the same period in 2018. At the same time there has been a 53% increase in the number of applications processed (7,353 applications processed) compared to the same period last year, clearly demonstrating that productivity is improving. It is anticipated that this month, June 2019, will be the busiest month for processing applications in more than 10 years.

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 twelve weeks for Standard applications, which account for 29% of permits issued.

In order to reduce processing times, the Employment Permits section has introduced a number of operational changes, streamlined processes and implemented ICT solutions. Additional staffing resources have also been assigned to the section and a fast track training programme has been devised.

In addition a Business Process Reengineering Review for the Employment Permits section will commence shortly as a first step in the development of a new IT processing system which will take advantage of all the new technologies available, including full digitisation.

At the end of May 2019, there were 2,436 permit applications in the processing queue, down from a peak of 3,230 in September 2018. All permit applications remain in this queue until reached for processing at which stage the appropriate economic sector is assigned. Therefore, there is no statistical breakdown by economic sector for applications in the processing queue, however I have attached the 2019 to date monthly breakdown of applications awaiting decision.

I can assure you that all available resources are being deployed with the aim of reducing processing times. My officials have been proactively engaging with customers to notify them of current delays through email, meetings and regular updates on the Employment Permits section of my Department’s website.

Date

Employment Permit applications in processing queue at month end

31st January 2019

2,052

28th February 2019

1,975

31st March 2019

1,731

30th April 2019

2,066

31st May 2019

2,436