Technology Ireland, the Ibec-affiliated organisation which represents the tech sector, has urged the Government to increase resources to ensure faster processing of visa and work permit applications.
The call is contained in Technology Ireland’s Budget 2022 submission and comes after reports that the turnaround time for approving submissions increased from 16 to 20 weeks over the summer months.
The lobby group has welcomed the recent announcement regarding a further extension to renewal of employment permits, which it said was critical given the importance attached to attracting and retaining skilled professionals. However, it added that turnaround time on applications for visas and work permits, even for trusted partner companies, has been a “significant issue for members”.
"As international travel opens, it is important that this area is adequately resourced to avoid some of the problems experienced in 2019. Delays or impediments to bringing in key skilled staff from abroad must be eliminated," said director Una Fitzpatrick.
Technology Ireland has also recommended that the critical skills and ineligible lists for visa and permits be reviewed more frequently in response to the changing needs of the labour market given the loss of migrant talent due to travel restrictions arising from the pandemic.
Elsewhere in its submission, the lobby group, which has more than 200 member companies, also urges better resourcing of the Data Protection Commission. It also wants to see better backing of entrepreneurship and research and development activities through improved tax changes, and recognition of the importance of the tech sector to the economy.
“The technology sector in Ireland has undoubtedly been one the keystones of Ireland’s economic and social growth in the past 30 years. Ireland is now the envy of many countries, but our current achievements are no guarantee of future success. There are many opportunities ahead for the Irish technology sector, but there are also threats and possible constraints on our growth,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.
“We are calling on the Government to use Budget 2022 to maintain and strengthen the health of the technology ecosystem, not just with passive support but by modelling best behaviour in govtech with regard to digital transformation,” she added.