Ireland ahead in terms of work permit system - ESRI

Linking of market intelligence to migration policy superior to other EU countries

ESRI report warned that while Ireland is not yet facing the demographic challenges seen in other parts of the EU, labour market constraints are emerging in other ways.

ESRI report warned that while Ireland is not yet facing the demographic challenges seen in other parts of the EU, labour market constraints are emerging in other ways.

 

Ireland is ahead of most EU Member States in terms of linking labour market intelligence to migration policy, a new study has found.

The ESRI report shows the Irish work permits system is performing well in terms of responding to both skills shortages and surpluses. It attributed this to the fact that the process in place to link research on the availability of skills to policy-making has become more formalised in recent years.

The study indicates that while the majority of Member States are still attempting to forge links between economic migration policies and skills shortages, Ireland stands out for attempting to correlate almost all types of employment permits to identified labour market shortages.

The report said positive legislative and policy developments and a more user-friendly application process had made it easier to attract highly-skilled workers.

Innovative

“Ireland has taken an innovative, incremental approach to identifying skills and labour shortages. This study shows that the employment permits system is now well linked to such information as it emerges. The responsiveness of the employment permits system to labour market intelligence is becoming increasingly important as the economy continues to improve and labour market shortages are more widespread,” said report author Emma Quinn.

Changes to regulations that make it easier for individuals from overseas to secure work visas were introduced in September under the Employment Permits (Amendment) Act. The legislation allowed for an expansion of the occupations eligible for employment permits in Ireland to include telecommunications engineers, IT engineers and others. It also made a number of occupations ineligible for permits.

Policy

“One aspect of Ireland’s broad economic policy is to attract and support high value-added investment, often in narrow occupations and fields such as ICT or pharmaceuticals. This can create skills demands that are difficult for the domestic labour force to meet. While up-skilling the resident population is the priority, non-EU migration can allow for a quick response to emerging skill shortages and provide an ongoing supply of skilled workers where the number of graduates remains too low,” said Ms Quinn.

The report warned that while Ireland is not yet facing the demographic challenges seen in other parts of the EU, labour market constraints are emerging in other ways.

“It is now well established that the immigration system can allow for a quick response to emerging skill shortages and an ongoing response where the number of graduates remains below the number needed. Provided migrants with the necessary skills can be attracted to Ireland, the employment permit system can complement the education and training system,” the study concludes.