New work permits aim to make Ireland ICT hub

New employment Bill will create nine categories for issuing permits to boost State as global location

Richard Bruton: Said Ireland “must have an employment system that is flexible”

Richard Bruton: Said Ireland “must have an employment system that is flexible”


A range of new employment permits for those looking to work in Ireland are to be created under new legislation designed to make the country “the top global location” for information and communications technology.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton yesterday launched the Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill, which he claims comes after significant reductions in the processing time for employment permits.

The Bill will create nine different “purposes for which an employment permit may be granted”. These include a “critical skills” permit to replace the green card, aimed at directing skilled workers towards areas of the economy where they are needed; internship permits; permits for the sporting and cultural sectors; permits to allow spouses, partners and dependents of those with “critical skills” take up work; and permits to allow for transfers within international companies with Irish operations.

Geographical parameters
While the Department of Jobs says a key objective is to ensure that workers come from within Ireland and the European Economic Area (EEA), which is comprised of the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, permits can be issued to other workers if they have skills needed by employers.

Mr Bruton described the Bill as an “important piece of reform” and said Ireland “must have an employment system that is flexible”.

“As you know, there are huge opportunities in the ICT (information and communication technology) sector,” Mr Bruton said. “It’s forecast that, over the next five years, there will be 44,000 vacancies. Our ambition, and I will work with [Minister for Education] Ruairí Quinn, is to fill as many of those as we can from the Irish-based education system – 75 per cent is our target.”

The Bill will also retain and extend the requirement where at last half of the employees in a business looking for permits must be Irish or EEA nationals, although this can be waived for a certain period for start-ups.

It will also retain and extend the requirement for a “labour market needs test” even though exemptions can be waived where workers with “critical skills” are needed.

Mr Bruton said there will be “special skills patterns for permits” and different classifications for permits.

The reforms are part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, in particular a programme “aimed at increasing the number of skilled ICT graduates available in Ireland through the education system as well as the employment permits system”.

The Coalition says it will “confirm our status as the internet capital of Europe”.

Skilled graduates
“One of the biggest issues faced by businesses considering creating jobs in this sector is the availability of skilled graduates to do the work needed,” Mr Bruton said. His legislation will mean “our employment permits system can respond quickly and allow our economy benefit from quickly emerging opportunities”.