Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (1025, 1038, 1039, 1041, 1052)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

1025. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of businesses that have been approved as trusted partners for the application of work permits; the way in which a business qualifies to be a trusted partner; and the timeframe for processing an application for both trusted partner and non-trusted partners. [33934/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

1038. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applications for work permits received in each month to date in 2019; the number of applications that were fully processed at the end of each month; and the number that were not fully processed by the end of each month in tabular form. [34626/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

1039. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps being taken to increase the speed at which work permits are being issued; the number of outstanding work permits at the end of each of the first six months of 2019 that remain to be processed by sector in tabular form. [34627/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

1041. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of persons by Civil Service grade working in the employment permits section of her Department in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and the annual funding allocation to the section in 2019. [34629/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

1052. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applications for work permits received in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the average processing time, that is, average number of weeks for applications to be processed in each year and to date in 2019; and the EU average number of weeks it takes to process applications by member state in tabular form. [34641/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1025, 1038, 1039, 1041 and 1052 together.

The Employment Permits section of my Department informs me that there are currently 1,017 registered Trusted Partners.

The objective of the Trusted Partner initiative is to ease the administrative burden on employers in expansion mode/start-ups and regular users of the employment permits system. A Trusted Partner employer will have reduced paperwork for permit applications and a faster turnaround in processing permit applications.

My officials consider a number of criteria when assessing Trusted Partner applications including that the employer should be a regular user of the employment permit system or is in expansion mode. If an employer expects to become a regular user of the employment permits system they should provide a business case outlining the reasons why the company will become a regular user in the near future, for example upcoming expansion of the business; an expected increase to their workforce or a schedule of recruitment of new employees.

All other information required to become a Trusted Partner is included in the checklist document that my officials have produced in order to assist with applications for the Trusted Partner Initiative. The checklist document, if followed, should result in the granting of Trusted Partner status. The checklist is available here - https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/Trusted-Partner-Registration-Checklist.pdf.

An application to register as a Trusted Partner can be made online at the following link - https://epos.djei.ie/EPOSOnlineportal#/app/findFormAssistant.

The Employment Permits section is working to reduce the current waiting times of approx. three weeks for Trusted Partner applications which account for 71% of total applications and approx. fourteen weeks for Standard applications, accounting for 29% of applications.

As the economy improves and we approach full employment my Department has experienced a high volume of employment permit applications which has led to delays in processing applications. At the end of June 2019 there was an 11% increase in the amount of applications received (9,106 applications received) over the same period in 2018. At the same time there has been a 36% increase in the amount of applications processed (9,140 applications processed) compared to the same period last year, clearly demonstrating that productivity is improving. It should be noted that June 2019 was the busiest month for processing applications in more than 11 years.

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 and implemented. In addition an independent 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.

I can assure the Deputy 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.

There is no specific funding allocation for the Employment Permits section. Funding is met from within the Department’s overall administration budget.

My Department does not hold the requested information regarding average processing times for employment permits processed by other EU states.

There is no statistical breakdown by economic sector for applications that are in the processing queue as all permit applications remain in the processing queue until reached for processing at which stage the appropriate economic sector is assigned. However I have attached the 2019 to date monthly breakdown of applications awaiting decision.

All other statistics requested by the Deputy are attached.

2019

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

TOTAL

Number of Applications Received

1,172

1,358

1,213

1,575

2,047

1,741

9,106

Number of Applications Processed

1,738

1,399

1,437

1,272

1,539

1,755

9,140

2019

End Jan 2019

End Feb 2019

End Mar 2019

End Apr 2019

End May 2019

End Jun 2019

Total Number of Applications in the processing queue at the end of each Month that are not fully processed

2,183

(includes 398 applications at various stages of processing)

2,167

(includes 441 applications at various stages of processing)

1,928

(includes 419 applications at various stages of processing)

2,264

(includes 458 applications at various stages of processing)

2,666

(includes 542 applications at various stages of processing)

2,754

(includes 669 applications at various stages of processing)

Total applications for Employment Permits 2016 - 2019

Year

Applications Received

Average Processing Times (Business Days)

2019

9,142 (first half of year)

36 Days

2018

16,768

38 Days

2017

13,333

26 Days

2016

11,317

22 days

Please find below the number of persons by Civil Service grade working in the Employment Permits section of my Department in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form.

26/12/2014

25/12/2015

30/12/2016

29/12/2017

28/12/2018

19/07/2019

Grade

Seat Count

FTE

Seat Count

FTE

Seat Count

FTE

Seat Count

FTE

Seat Count

FTE

Seat Count

FTE

PO

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

AP

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

HEO

3

2.5

3

2.5

1

0.5

3

2.5

3

2.5

3

2.5

EO

4

4

5

5

5

5

9

8

8

7.5

8

7.5

SO

4

3

3

2

4

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

CO

14

13.1

12

11.6

17

16.8

21

19.3

21

20.1

25

24.1

Total

27

24.6

25

23.1

29

27.3

35

31.8

34

32.1

38

36.1