Government warned of surge in work permit applications

Britain’s EU exit likely to trigger influx of foreign workers here, migration group advises

Minister of State for Financial Services Eoghan Murphy: department has “clear roadmap” on maximising Brexit opportunities. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Minister of State for Financial Services Eoghan Murphy: department has “clear roadmap” on maximising Brexit opportunities. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

The Government has been warned to prepare for a surge in Irish work permit applications in the wake of Brexit.

Migration specialists VisaFirst said Britain’s decision to leave the EU was likely to see an influx of foreign workers here.

However, it said while the current permit application process was efficient, a significant uptick in applications could lead to lengthy backlogs.

Such a scenario could deter UK-based businesses from relocating here, the organisation warned.

“Over the last few years we have year-on-year seen a growth in Irish work permit applications – and we expect this trend to continue, not least because the economy is rebounding and the UK’s impending exit from the EU is likely to have some knock-on effects for Ireland, ” VisaFirst’s Edwina Shanahan said.

The number of work permits granted by the Department of Enterprise, Employment and Innovation is already up 31 per cent this year to 8,007.

Clear roadmap

Eoghan Murphy

“While this is a commendable approach it’s important that all the issues are addressed to ensure effective application of this roadmap,” Ms Shanahan said.

“Critically, the department needs to be resourced up to deal with a significant rise in the number of visa applications,” she said.

VisFirst also warned the Brexit opportunity for Ireland could be missed if the current skills gap was not addressed.

It noted that businesses in several sectors in healthcare, pharma, engineering and IT were reporting difficulties in sourcing certain skills, with many opting to look abroad.

Brexit had the potential to compound this problem, VisaFirst said.

Opportunities

“An example of this lies in the fact that there’s already talk of several businesses possibly relocating their operations to Ireland – particularly in the financial services and banking sector.This would be a welcome development of course, but it could compound a skills issue we already face,” she added.

“While there are processes and procedures in place to allow these skills gaps to be filled, we should consider how a greater influx of businesses from the UK might mean a higher demand for Irish work permits for overseas workers, etc, and how this might be dealt with efficiently and effectively,” Ms Shanahan said.