The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within Ireland and other EEA states. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within Ireland and the EEA, the employment permits system offers a conduit into the Irish labour market for non-EEA nationals with in-demand skills and is operated as a vacancy led system.
As at 24th September 2019, the number of valid employment permits is 11,436. Each employment permit links an employee with an employer. This practice is the norm internationally.
Normally the holder of an employment permit is required to remain with their first employment for a period of 12 months after which time there is no restriction on changing employer. This requirement strikes a reasonable balance between, on the one hand, the employer’s expectations that the foreign national remain in his or her employment for a reasonable period of time given the costs involved in recruiting that foreign national and, on the other hand, not unduly binding the foreign national to the employer. A new employment permit is required prior to commencement of employment with any new employer.
In certain circumstances, during this initial 12-month period with their first employer, a new application for an employment permit may be considered for instances such as:
- redundancy, or
- where circumstances (unforeseen at time of application) arise in the employment that fundamentally change the employment relationship (e.g. the employer plans to change the location of the business to a site a significant distance from its current location, or the hours of work are being significantly changed, or significant changes are being made to the nature of the work that the foreign national is required to do).
If the criteria in this regard are met then a non-EEA national may submit a new employment permit application following all of the procedures for the relevant employment permit type and it will be considered in line with the provisions of the Employment Permits Acts. All such applications should include documentary evidence and/or supporting documentation explaining the circumstances in the particular case e.g. P45, letter from the current employer confirming redundancy/change in employment terms etc. .
Statistics in relation to companies issued with permits and permits issued by sector is available on the Department’s website and can be accessed through this link: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Statistics/.