Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
44. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when the next review of the critical skills and ineligible occupations lists will take place; if he intends to include home carers in the critical-skills exemption for non-EEA employment permits; his views on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25225/22]
Ireland’s employment permits system 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 but 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. The system is managed through the operation of the Critical Skills and Ineligible Occupations Lists which determine employments that are either in high demand or are ineligible for an employment permit where it is evidenced that there is more than sufficient availability of those skills in the domestic and EEA labour market.
In order to ensure the employment permits system is aligned with current labour market intelligence, these lists undergo regular, evidence-based review guided by relevant research, a public/stakeholder consultation, the views of the Economic Migration Interdepartmental Group and relevant policy Departments, in this case the Department of Health. Account is taken of education and training outputs and known contextual factors such as Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ending of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and their impact on the labour market.
Changes announced in June 2021 included removing a number of Health Care occupations from the Ineligible Occupations List. The subsequent review did not recommend removal of the occupation of care worker/home carers from the Ineligible Occupations List at that time as available evidence suggested that contracts of employment on offer and employment terms and conditions being offered were factors in the recruitment challenges faced by the sector.
Department officials are actively engaged with the Department of Health in relation to recruitment challenges and my Department is a member of the recently established Cross Departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group chaired by the Department of Health to consider the recruitment and retention challenges faced by the home care sector. The Department continues to review the employment permits system in light of changing labour market circumstances.
The next review of the occupations lists is expected to commence with a public consultation in Q2 2022. When open, submissions will be invited from sector representative bodies and interested parties via the Public Consultation Form which will be accessible on the Department’s website.