Written answers

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

A Vision for Change

Photo of Mick BarryMick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity)
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60. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will consider changes to the work permit scheme to allow those coming to work as health care assistants to bring their spouses and children to live in the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23382/23]

Photo of Neale RichmondNeale Richmond (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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Ireland operates a managed employment permit system through occupation lists, namely the critical skills and ineligible occupation lists, which are reviewed twice a year. This is an evidence-based process that takes account of labour market conditions and submissions from sectors and other stakeholders together with contextual factors, including for example the impact of COVID-19. The purpose of the system is to maximise the benefits of economic migration while minimising the risk of disrupting the Irish labour market.

Access to the General Employment Permit for the role of health care assistant was announced in June 2021 to address skills and labour shortages in the healthcare and nursing home sector.  Evidence within the healthcare sector suggest increasing competition for skilled candidates in several healthcare roles and that despite increased efforts to recruit from the Irish and European labour markets, including through engagement with the Department of Social Protection, supply could not not sufficiently meet demand.

Increases in the aging population and consequent increases in demand for services means a significant number of health care assistants are required to provide sufficient long-term residential care for older people into the future.  In order to attract non EEA nationals and encourage them to take up employment in the role in a priority sector, the removal of health care assistant from the ineligible occupations list was introduced under a framework that the permit holder can be assured a salary of at least €27,000.  The permit holder should also attain a relevant qualification at least QQI Level 5 after 2 years employment in the State.

Holders of General Employment Permits are eligible to apply to the Minister for Justice for family reunification permissions after a period of one year on the permit. The conditions governing family reunification are a matter for the Minister for Justice. 


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