April 24, 2013

Recent changes to the immigration regulationsfor personnel entering employment in Ireland from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will require a permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI). The changes to categories of permits are detailed below.

What’s Changed?

Green Cards: TheHighly-Skilled Occupations List(previously referred to as ‘Eligible Occupations List for Green Cards’) has been broadened and updated to correlate with known shortages of key skills in the labour market. Before eligibility in respect of a particular job title was confined to a particular sector. Now, the highly skilled eligible occupations are permissible across all sectors.

Work Permits-The Labor Market Needs Test: The requirement for advertising with the Department of Social Protection’s Employment Services (previously referred to as FÁS) has been reduced from eight weeks to two weeks and the requirement to advertise in a national newspaper has been reduced to three days. Prior to this, there was a further requirement to advertise in a local newspaper. Now, there is an option to advertise in either a local newspaper or on a job posting website for three days.

Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment PermitsList of Occupations: This list has been updated to cater for particular shortages in relation to certain occupations involving the necessity of being able to communicate in a non-EEA language.

Contract Service Provider (CSP) Permit – Allows a foreign company to send transferees to an Irish client site to service a contract between the Sender and the Irish client. This has become a very popular permit type for certain service industries, such as the Indian IT sector, and is a growing market.

Employment Permits Applications Forms: These forms have been amended to reduce the requirements to submit additional documentation. In tandem with this, there will also be a greater focus on random checks of employment permits by the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) to ensure adherence to the relevant legislation.

In addition, since 2012, as there has been an appreciable rise in the use of CSP Permits, the DJEI has added the CSP category into their application form.

Coherent Services across Employment Permit Schemes: An initiative has been taken by the DJEI and the Department of Justice and Equality (INIS) to provide a more coherent service across both the Employment Permits regime and the Visa regime.

Certain categories of non-EEA/Swiss national immigration status holders who are legally residing in Ireland, and who have been offered employment in an occupation included in theHighly Skilled Occupations List, will now be allowed to apply for another category of Employment Permit.

Also the INIS intends to facilitate job interviews for highly- skilled candidates and provide measures to permit persons to be employed in the State on a short term basis (i.e., between 14 -90 calendar days).

Conversion of Status for Current Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) CSP Status Holders: ICT and CSP Permit holders can now apply for other types of Employment Permit subject to meeting the normal criteria of their current status (e.g., legally resident in Ireland for at least 12 consecutive months on the basis of an ICT or CSP Permit).

Reduction in Qualification Period for New ICT Applicants: The qualifying period of employment immediately preceding application for ICT status has been reduced from 12 consecutive months to six consecutive months with a related overseas company.

IT Graduates of Foreign Colleges and for Technical or Sales Support Roles with Non-EEA Language Requirements: The annual remuneration threshold is reduced from the current €30,000 to €27,000 for employment permits applications under the Work Permits category.

Income Requirements: Will be based on ‘remuneration’ rather than ‘salary’ for all types of employment permits where items of remuneration are demonstrated on payslips or P60s.

Appeals Process: The appeals process will be more efficient and transparent and will now – instead of reviewing a fresh application – only reference the stated reasons for a refusal as provided in a decision to refuse.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Irish companies will welcome the concerted effort the by DJEI to streamline immigration processes and allow more flexibility for workers to move to new job opportunities while in in Ireland.

Companies should consult with their Irish immigration supplier to confirm how the above new regulations will affect sponsorship of non-EEA/Swiss national assignees. In addition, companies should be aware of the DJEI’s intent to provide further enhancements as follows:

  • The use of a single application form which will electronically guide the applicant through the form;
  • Migration of website information to a new platform and better information linkages with the relevant aspects of the INIS’ visa regime;
  • New INIS’ pilot initiatives to be announced in Summer 2013;
  • Online querying of an Employment Permit application’s status; and
  • Expanding the availability of the DJEI’s telephone Call Centre.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in Ireland to provide you this update.

Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.