Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Work Permits

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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646. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of permits for migrant workers issued to date for each of the months to May 2020; the figures for the same period for 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6928/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Under the Employment Permits Acts in order to work in the State all non-EEA nationals require a valid employment permit or relevant immigration permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality which allows them to reside and work in the State without the requirement for an employment permit.  Migrant workers from the European Union and European Economic Area (EEA) do not require an employment permit to work in Ireland.

Ireland operates a managed employment permits system maximising the benefits of economic migration and minimising the risk of disrupting Ireland’s labour market. The employment permits regime is designed to facilitate the entry of appropriately skilled non-EEA nationals to fill skills and/or labour shortages, however, this objective must be balanced by the need to ensure that there are no suitably qualified Irish/EEA nationals available to undertake the work and that the shortage is a genuine one.

In order to ensure that the employment permits system is responsive to changes in economic circumstances and labour market conditions, it is managed through the operation of the Critical Skills and Ineligible Occupations Lists for the purpose of granting an employment permit, which are subject to twice yearly review. These reviews, which are evidence based and are guided by research undertaken by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) and the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS, as well as a public consultation process and input from the relevant Government Departments as well as the Economic Migration Inter-Departmental Group, chaired by the Department. Account is also taken of contextual factors such as Brexit and, in the current context, COVID-19.  

At the end of April 2020 there was a 6% increase in the number of applications received over the same period in 2019, and there was a 15% increase in the number of permits issued over the same period in 2019.  Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the Department has been prioritising the processing of employment permit applications for medical personnel and these applications continue to be prioritised.  Since mid-March, this has resulted in 1,404 employment permits issuing to medical personnel, accounting for approx. 37% of  permits issued in that period.

The statistics request by the Deputy are as follows:

Permits Issued Permits Issued
2019 2020
Jan 1,556 1,349
Feb 1,196 1,447
March 1,155 1,228
April 1,112 1,769
May 1,359 831 (at COB 15th May)

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that the Employment Permit system continues to operate throughout the crisis. The Department has implemented remote working arrangements for staff and has adjusted operations to, inter alia, provide for the acceptance of electronic/scanned documents.

Full details on the Employment Permits contingency arrangements are available at the following link -

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