Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
201. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will provide for those on general employment permits to have at least the same rights as critical skills permits holders in the forthcoming employment permits Bill (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30270/21]
The Employment Permits scheme is vacancy led and driven by the changing needs of the labour market, expanding and contracting in tandem with its inherent fluctuations. The system is managed through the critical skills and ineligible occupations lists, which are subject to twice yearly evidence-based review.
The Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) is Ireland’s premium permit. It is designed to attract highly skilled people into the labour market in roles identified as being in critical short supply (on the critical skilled occupation list) with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residence and employment in the State. As a result, it attracts a number of additional benefits over other permit types. These include an option to apply for long term residency permission after two years on a CSEP, immediate family reunification and for broad access to the labour market for dependents, spouses/partners of CSEP holders.
The General Employment Permit (GEP) is the main permit used by the State to attract non-EEA nationals in occupations of a more general nature. It requires a range of criteria be met including a labour market needs test (LMNT) demonstrating that the employer was unable to fill the position from the Irish and EEA labour markets. After one year on a GEP the permit holder may apply for family reunification and after five years, long term residency permission from the Department of Justice. In addition, non EEA nationals who have resided in the State for five years are eligible to apply for citizenship.
All employment permit holders have exactly the same protections under Irish employment law as any other worker in the State and many of the criteria associated with the employment permits system are aimed at ensuring that migrant employees are treated in line with Irish labour laws.
The additional benefits attached to the CSEP are designed to attract workers in possession of skills of critical importance to the economy and to encourage them to apply for long term residency.
Extending these additonal benefits to other employment permit holders would require consideration of the potential impacts, including on the domestic labour market, our community preference obligations to the EU and on broader immigration policies. My officials continue to engage on an ongoing basis on range of matters where economic migration polices and immigraton polices intersect including those issues raised by the deputy.