Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (303, 304)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

303. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applications for work permits received in 2019 by month; the number of applications that were fully processed and not fully processed, respectively at the end of each month in tabular form. [47736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

304. 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 each month in 2019 that remain to be processed by sector in tabular form. [47737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 303 and 304 together.

The statistics requested by the Deputy are contained in the following table.

2019

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

TOTAL

Number of Applications Received

1,172

1,358

1,213

1,575

2,047

1,741

1,680

1,485

1,636

1,626

15,538

Number of Applications Processed

1,738

1,399

1,437

1,272

1,539

1,755

1,839

1,729

1,530

1,763

16,001

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)

2,591

(includes 541 applications at various stages of processing)

2,343

(includes 540 applications at various stages of processing)

2,421

(includes 604 applications at various stages of processing)

2,266

(includes 653 applications at various stages of processing) 

2,266

(includes 653 applications at various stages of processing) 

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.

- 9 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.

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 an 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.

Data is respect of applications in the processing queue by sector is not available. Sectoral data is only assigned to applications when the application is reached for processing.