Written answers

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Work Permits

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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71. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 17 of 23 November 2023, for an update on plans to remove dental nurses from the ineligible occupation list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5480/24]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I announced the report of the 2023 Review of the Employment Permits Occupation Lists in December last which delivered comprehensive changes to the employment permits system.

The report comprised the addition of 11 roles to the critical skills occupations list and the removal of 32 roles from the ineligible occupations list (with or without quota) thus becoming eligible for a general employment permit. A roadmap up to January 2026 for increasing salary thresholds for employment permits has also been introduced which commenced the first adjustments to the Minimum Annual Remuneration thresholds from 17th January.

The Department received 112 distinct submissions to the review from a range of stakeholders including small and medium sized entities, government departments and employment permit users. Within those submissions were requests to change the status of 356 separate roles across a wide range of sectors in the economy. One submission was received which made reference to dental nurse.

Submissions to the review were subject to consideration by the Interdepartmental Group on Economic Migration Policy. The IDG consists of cross-departmental membership including the Department of Health, which has policy responsibility for the dental sector.

Based on the evidence and submission under consideration, the role of dental nurse was assessed and determined as not appropriate for adjustment at this time and therefore the role remains on the Ineligible Occupation List at present.

However, my Department has since invited the submitter to make a new evidence-based submission. I am mindful that the dentistry sector has experienced labour challenges in recent times and an increase in vacancies could represent an attendant risk to dental service delivery in the State. Should a further evidence-based case be made to my Department, it will be examined and taken into full consideration.

A report which summarises the changes introduced following the review of the occupations lists can be found on the Department’s website.


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