HSE, Google are Ireland’s biggest skills importers

2016 is set to be a record year for Irish work permits as companies look abroad to fill skills gaps

The Health Services Executive was Ireland’s biggest importer of skills in the first fourth months of 2016, with 479 visa applicants. ( Photograph: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire)

The Health Services Executive was Ireland’s biggest importer of skills in the first fourth months of 2016, with 479 visa applicants. ( Photograph: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire)

 

The economic recovery is driving a record number of visa applicants, with the number of visa applications from non-EU professionals for 2016 likely to surpass last year by 20 per cent. The Health Service Executive is the biggest importer of skills in Ireland followed by internet giant Google, while visa applications are also on the rise in the construction sector.

In 2015, some 7,353 permits were issued, but according to visa processing expert VisaFirst, it is likely that this figure will surpass 9,000 for 2016.

Edwina Shanahan, manager of www.visaifirst.com, says that an improvement in economic sentiment is behind the increase.

“The uptake in Irish work permits is actually an indication of a growing economy,” she says, adding that skills shortages are most evident not just in IT and language-oriented positions, but also in the construction sector.

“It seems that a direct results of the recession has been that Ireland now has very few new graduates in the areas of quantity surveying, engineering, etc. - which is why we are seeing a new wave of Irish permits being issued to companies in this sector. The financial services industry is also experiencing some skills shortages,” she says.

The scale of emigration from Ireland in the past few years, the so-called “brain drain” is another likely factor behind the rise, Ms Shanahan says.

According to the figures, the Health Service Executive has applied to bring the most non-EU citizens to Ireland so far in 2016 (479), followed by Google (125), Intel (125), Infosys BPO (94) and Accenture (66). Last year the HSE applied for 1573 visas, or 393 in the first four months of the year.

When it comes to nationalities, the vast majority of applicants are coming from India, with four times as many Indian applicants as those from the US. Next up are applicants from Pakistan, the US, Brazil and Israel.

Workers from outside the EU can apply for one of eight visas, including a critical skills permit (previously the green card), which requires the applicant to earn a remuneration package of € 60,000 or more; and investor and start-up visas, which are designed for people who are going to invest in Ireland with amounts of between € 500,000 - €2 million.