Written answers

Thursday, 20 June 2024

Department of Justice and Equality

Immigration Policy

Photo of Marc Ó CathasaighMarc Ó Cathasaigh (Waterford, Green Party)
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15. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the streamlining of the process between the work permit system and the Irish residence permit system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24271/24]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I am sure the Deputy will agree that migration plays an essential and very positive role in Ireland’s society and economy. Legal migration pathways are vital to addressing labour shortages across the economy. Our success in ensuring we can attract and retain the skills our economy needs has been a key driver of economic growth in Ireland.

In order to ensure that these pathways are as efficient and convenient as possible, my colleague the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment and I recently secured Government approval for our plan to introduce a single permit to both work and live in Ireland.

This decision follows detailed engagement by an interdepartmental group to explore the feasibility of such a measure. As you are aware, currently, to work in Ireland, a person from a country outside the European Economic Area has to first make an application for an employment permit, and then make a second application for a visa, if from a visa-required country, and then finally apply for an immigration permission following their arrival.

The interdepartmental group developed a detailed plan for how to streamline and unify these steps and an implementation team has now been established between the two departments to put that plan into effect. Once the single permit is implemented, Ireland would also then be able to opt-in to the EU Single Permit Directive to ensure Ireland is not at a competitive disadvantage when attracting skills, experience and talent to the economy.

Work to facilitate the adoption of the single permit will be completed over the course of the next three years. In the short term a number of actions will be taken to streamline the existing process, including removal of duplication in the data sought from applicants and in the related checks, as well as the introduction of a single payment mechanism. These steps will simplify the process for applicants and employers, while work takes place to develop a common application platform.

These measures form one part of an overall range of actions being take to ensure Ireland's employment and immigration authorisation system meets the needs of our society and economy.

My Department is making significant investments in technology to fully digitise the immigration service and has also recently introduced measures to enable the spouses and partners of employment permit holders to themselves take up employment without a separate authorisation.

All of these initiatives are designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of our economy and to support and recognise the vitally important contribution made by migrants to so many areas of our economy and society.


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