Almost half employment permits issued to IT sector

46% of permits went to non-EEA citizens for tech area in year to December 11th

Google topped the list of employment permits granted to non-European citizens, with 146 permits granted to recruits from non-EEA countries, or their spouses/dependants. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Google topped the list of employment permits granted to non-European citizens, with 146 permits granted to recruits from non-EEA countries, or their spouses/dependants. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


Almost 1,700 employment permits have been granted to non-European citizens in the tech sector so far this year to plug a skills shortage.

In the year to December 11th, 3,674 employment permits were issued to citizens from countries outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. The EEA comprises the European Union member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

People from Switzerland coming to work in Ireland do not need an employment permit

Of the figure, 1,679 permits, or 46 per cent, were in the IT sector, according to data from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

India and IT
One-third or 1,363 of all the employment permits were granted to Indian citizens, with two-thirds of those individuals destined for Ireland’s tech sector.

A further 536 permits were granted to US citizens, 15 per cent of all permits issued. Of the US citizens granted permits, one-third were in IT.

As with India and the US, the highest percentage of permits issued to Brazilian and Chinese citizens were also in the tech sector at 47 per cent and 37 per cent of all the permits issued to individuals from these countries respectively.

Of the top-20 companies which recruited non-EEA citizens up to December 5th, 2013, 18 were information technology, computer hardware or communications companies.

Main employers
Google topped the list with 146 permits granted to recruits from non-EEA countries or their spouses/dependants, followed by Tata Consultancy Services with 138 permits.

Other tech companies on the list include IBM, Dell, LM Ericsson and Wipro technologies.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation said the Government was “committed to provide an additional 2,000 ICT graduate-level professionals in 2013 and, by 2018, lead Europe in terms of ICT graduates as a percentage of all third-level graduates . . . to build on the significant job-creation in the ICT sector in recent years”.

“While the education system is crucial to delivering these targets, the work permits system also has a significant role to play,” the spokeswoman added.

The health sector received the second-highest level of permits with 488, or 13 per cent of all employment permits, issued to December 11th, 2013.

Half of these permits were issued to Indian nationals.
Up to December 5th, 91 permits had been issued to individuals either recruited by the Health Service Executive or to the spouses or dependents of its employees. The number of permits issued to the HSE has fallen consistently since 2009, when 525 such permits were issued in the full year compared to 121 such permits issued in the full year in 2012.

Hospital needs
Between January 1st and December 5th, 2013, a further 70 individuals were issued permits connected to 17 hospitals nationwide, including St James’ Hospital, the Beacon Hospital and the South Infirmary in Cork .

Almost 80 per cent of the 3,674 permits issued in the year to date were new permits while the remainder were made up of renewal permits.

Some 37 per cent were green cards, an employment permit for occupations which usually relate to people receiving salaries in excess of €60,000 or occupations where there are skill shortages.

Work permits (a type of employment permit issued for occupations which usually attract a salary of between €30,000 and €60,000 and for which the employer must show that the relevant vacancy could not be filled from within the EEA or Switzerland) made up a further 33 per cent of permits issued.

Spouses and transfers
Spousal permits and those covering intracompany transfers respectively made up 15 per cent and 14 per cent of permits issued.

More than 500 employment permits were refused in the year to date.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation said that, in 2011 and 2012, the latest years for which complete figures are available, just 5 per cent of the total number of IDA jobs created were filled by people with work permits.

In 2012, there were 4,007 employment permits issued to non-EEA citizens .