The employment permits system is designed to facilitate the entry of appropriately skilled non-EEA nationals to fill skills and/or labour shortages, in circumstances where there are no suitably qualified Irish/EEA nationals available to undertake the work and that the shortage is a genuine one.
The system is managed through the operation of the Critical Skills and Ineligible Occupations Lists which determine employments that are either in high demand or are ineligible for an employment permit where there is a surplus of those skills in the domestic and EEA labour market.
In order to maintain the relevance of these lists of occupations to the needs of the economy and to ensure their ongoing relevance to the State’s human capital requirements, they undergo twice-yearly evidence-based reviews. The reviews are guided by research undertaken by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the Skills and the Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU), SOLAS and involves public/stakeholder consultation. Account is taken of education outputs, sectoral upskilling and training initiatives and known contextual factors such as Brexit and, in the current context, COVID-19 and their impact on the labour market. Consideration is also taken of the views of the Economic Migration Interdepartmental Group, chaired by my Department and of the relevant policy Departments. Officials from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media are represented on the Economic Migration Interdepartmental Group.
The current review of the occupations lists is drawing to a close with submissions received from a range of sectors - including from the hospitality industry – considered during the process. It is expected that the final report on the review will be submitted for approval shortly and any changes necessary to deal with verified skills or labour shortages will be made in the coming weeks.
My Colleague, Catherine Martin, T.D., the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, is the Minister responsible for the Hospitality Sector.