Ireland – A Top Global Location for Highly Skilled Workers

28 April 2014

The Irish Government, in its Action Plan for Jobs published in February 2013, set out its strategy to make Ireland “the best small country in which to do business and as a consequence, retain and create sustainable jobs”.  As part of the commitments contained in the Action Plan for Jobs, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (the “Minister”), Richard Bruton, published the Employment Permits (Amendment) Act, 2014 on 23 April 2014 which, when enacted, “will reform and modernise Ireland’s employment permits system as part of a plan to make Ireland the top global location for ICT skills” and will confirm Ireland’s status as “the Internet capital of Europe”.  It is expected that the Bill will be approved by the Irish parliament by Summer 2014.

The key changes proposed in the Bill are the introduction of nine new categories of employment permit and revisions to the current employment permits legislation to update it and to address certain deficiencies.

  1. New Categories of Employment Permits

The Bill proposes the introduction of the following nine categories of employment permits:

  1. The Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP)

The Bill proposes renaming the current “Green Card Employment Permit” as a CSEP.  These employment permits are for highly skilled short labour supply roles.  In order to attract such highly skilled non-EEA nationals to Ireland, the Bill provides for immediate family re-unification, a fast track to Irish residency and waives certain conditions applying to other categories of employment permit.

  1. Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit

The Bill proposes renaming the current “Spousal or Dependent Employment Permit” as a Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit. The purpose of this type of permit is to accommodate families and dependants of researchers and holders of CSEPs so as to encourage highly skilled persons to take up employment in Ireland.

  1. General Employment Permit

The Bill proposes renaming the current “Work Permit” as a General Work Permit. This type of permit relates to job positions requiring skills of a more general nature and an employer must show that they were unable to fill the position from the local and EEA labour market.