Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
239. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his plans to further streamline the application process for work permits with particular reference to the issuing of decisions in a quick manner, therefore avoiding unnecessary delays for businesses in hiring the appropriate staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44644/20]
In March 2020, the Employment Permits Section of my Department implemented a COVID-19 contingency plan to ensure that the employment permit regime could continue to operate throughout the crisis. Since 30th March, the employment permit system has been operating fully remotely and online.
Operational practices have been adjusted to replace the paper-based elements of the service to allow for a fully online process involving electronic/scanned documents and all decisions/outcomes now issue via e-mail rather than by post. Agreement was reached with the Immigration Service Delivery in the Department of Justice and Equality on arrangements to introduce, on a temporary basis, a type of “e-employment permit” and a similar soft copy process to transition to permanent residence permission.
At the end of November 2020, Employment Permits Section issued 15,296 permits. This figure is only slightly lower than the number of permits issued for the same period during 2019, which was 15,335. The current processing waiting times for trusted partner applications is 1 week and for standard applications 4 weeks, which is within our ambitious customer service targets of 2 and 4 weeks respectively, and is a considerable improvement on the waiting times at the start of March 2020 when they were 6 and 13 weeks respectively.
Full details in relation to the contingency arrangements introduced by the Employment Permits Section in response to the pandemic can be accessed on my Department's website through the following link: .