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Work Permits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (203, 204)

Colm Burke

Ceist:

203. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of employment permits that have been processed in 2020 and to date in 2021 for non-EEA carers; the number of those that are for roles in nursing homes and hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58108/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Colm Burke

Ceist:

204. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of employment permit applications currently in the system being processed for non-EEA carers; the number of those that are for roles in nursing homes and hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58109/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Enterprise)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 and 204 together.

Ireland operates a managed employment permits system maximising the benefits of economic migration and minimising the risk of disrupting Ireland’s labour market. The regime is designed to accommodate the arrival of non-EEA nationals to fill skills and labour gaps for the benefit of our economy, in the short to medium term.

The employment permit system is managed through the operation of the critical skills and the ineligible occupations lists which determine employments that are either in high demand or are ineligible for consideration for an employment permit. In order to maintain the relevance of these lists of occupations to the needs of the economy, they undergo twice-yearly evidence-based reviews. These 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 include a public consultation process and extensive consultation with other Government Departments through the Interdepartmental Group on Economic Migration Policy. 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.

Employment permits are not generally granted to allow non-EEA nationals to work as carers, as this occupation is included on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits. An exception may be made for an application for employment as a carer in a private home where the person who requires the care has a severe medical condition and the prospective carer is a trained medical professional, or where it can be demonstrated that the applicant has a long history of caring for the person requiring the care.

On 14 June 2021, following the then most recent review of the employment permit occupation lists, I announced changes to the employment permit system, with immediate effect, to address skills and labour shortages in the healthcare and nursing home sector. The occupation of Nursing Auxiliary or Assistant (Health Care Assistant) in hospital/nursing home settings became eligible for an employment permit from this date.

The grade of Nursing Auxiliary or Assistant (Health Care Assistant) in Hospital/Nursing Home Settings is removed from the ineligible occupation list within the following framework:

- Attainment of a relevant QQI Level 5 qualification after 2 years employment in the State

- A minimum remuneration threshold of salary of at least €27,000

The framework will be reviewed after twelve months to ensure that the changes announced in June 2021 meet the needs of the sector.

The table below shows the number of employment permits that have been processed in 2020 and to date in 2021 in respect of Health Care Assistants.

-

2020

2021 (21/11/2021)

Permits Issued

1

11

Decisions Made

11

34

There are currently 326 employment permit applications awaiting processing in respect of Health Care Assistant roles. This figure represents the total number of applications for both nursing homes and hospitals.

Question No. 204 answered with Question No. 203.
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