Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna (288)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

288. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan 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 number of applications that remained to be processed by 1 November in each year in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46358/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The statistics requested by the Deputy are attached.

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. The current level of demand is due to our economic success, growing labour market and reduced labour surplus.

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.

Employment Permits Section is working to further reduce the current waiting times of:

- 3 weeks for Trusted Partners which account for 73% of applications this year (down from a peak of 7 weeks). Trusted Partners are regular users of the service.

- 10 weeks for standard applications which account for 27% of applications this year (down from a peak of 16 weeks).

At end October 2019, 15,538 applications have been received, an 11% increase on the same time last year. At the same time there has been a 31% increase in the amount of applications processed (16,001) compared to the same period last year. In July 2019, Employment Permits Section processed more employment permit applications (1,828) than during any month in the past 11 years. Quarter 3 of 2019 was the busiest Quarter in the last 11 years with 5,072 permit applications being processed so the changes currently being implemented within Employment Permits are resulting in higher outputs and reduced processing times. At the end of October 2019, there were 1,987 applications in the processing queue, down from a peak of 3,230 in September 2018.

An independent Business Process Review (BPR) is currently being carried out to identify further efficiencies that can be implemented in the short term and as a first step in the development of a new IT processing system during 2020 which will take advantage of all the new technologies available, including full digitisation. The Review, which included engagement from key stakeholders, is close to completion with the report expected before the end of the year.

Applicants are advised to apply for the employment permit at least 12 weeks in advance of the expected start date so that any impact of the current extended processing timelines on recruitment timeframes is minimised.

2016

2017

2018

Applications Received

11,317

13,217

16,735

*As at the 1st November 2019

1st November 2016

1st November 2017

1st November 2018

1st November 2019

Applications remaining to be processed on 1st November in each year

1,025

1,175

2,766

1,987