Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
25. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which provision can be made to expedite the application process for work permits, given the increased demand in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9328/21]
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 31 December 2020, Employment Permits Section issued 16,419 permits. This figure is slightly higher than the total number of permits issued in 2019, which was 16,383 and is a 12 year high for the amount of permits issued. For the month of January 2021 Employment Permits issued 1,369 permits, which is 3.5% higher than the number of permits issued for the same month last year (1,322).
The current processing waiting times for Trusted Partner applications is 2 weeks and for Standard applications 5 weeks, which is largely within our ambitious customer service targets of 2 and 4 weeks respectively. Therefore there are no delays in employment permit processing at present.
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: