April 03, 2013

The Ministry of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) released its February 2013 “Action Plans For Jobs” report that addresses Ireland’s push to become a “Big Data” center for the global economy.

By way of introducing seven “Disruptive Reforms” primarily designed to promote a higher education system stressing information and communication technologies, the plan is also intended to introduce a suite of measures to support Irish workers by providing access to Irish employers and to re-train skills for a changing labor market. In addition, the plan is to introduce a “necessary skills” immigration policy for recruiting qualified workers inside and outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

What are “Big Data” and “ICT”?

Big Data (“Data Curation”) – A relatively new term for the rapidly evolving “cloud computing” way of converting, storing and accessing tremendous amounts of data that is readily accessible to a global consumer base.

ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) – The ability to build and manage platforms to store, analyze, code and transmit digital data for subscribers. As a study or profession, ICT basically looks at how various communication strategies affect society’s ability to store and transmit information.

The “Big Data” Goals of Ireland

As the global economy increasingly relies on more “cloud” technologies, Ireland’s Action Plan estimates “that data collected and generated by companies and governments is growing by approximately 40% per year…. In the US alone, it is estimated that there will be unmet demand in 5 to 10 years of 140,000-190,000 analysts and 1.5 million data-savvy managers.”

By 2018, Ireland’s intended goal is become a global “Big Data” center by revamping its current education system to have “the highest percentage of computing graduates as a proportion of all tertiary graduates” in addition to initiating in 2013 a combination of targeted programs, reskilling and conversion courses for Irish workers and targeted migration of key skills groups (e.g., ICT pilot programs).

“Necessary Skills” – Proposed Changes in Irish Immigration

  • Consider the development of a ‘trusted partner’ registration to pre-register employers to streamline work permit application processes and processing times;
  • A simplified labor market test;
  • Introduce online application forms to ease completion of forms by applicants and employers.
  • Expand the economic sectors for employment permit applications to allow for ICT professionals in all sectors of the economy.
  • Reduce the wage threshold limit (where appropriate) for work permits in key skills areas (e.g., ICT graduates and technical sales with foreign language skills).

It is anticipated that these schemes will be rolled out as administrative schemes rather than primary legislation, making implementation possibly more piecemeal than in one sweeping legislative piece.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

The plan contains 333 actions to be implemented in 2013 by 16 Government departments and 46 agencies. The time frame for implementation is described as “aggressive”, so there is expectation to hear of announced changes in the near future. These reforms also promise to provide an extra 2,000 ICT graduates in 2013 and will make it easier for companies to bring skilled workers to Ireland from abroad.

The “Disruptive Reforms” items that will impact on the way that the DJEI delivers Employment Permit and Visa services will generally focus on reforms streamlining and clarifying of approach between visa and work permit and a review of the use of multi-entry visas and visa waivers for travelers from target markets and areas. Of particular note is the introduction of changes to the Irish visa regime as it operates in India.

Companies and assignees are advised to prepare for changes to the Irish immigration system primarily affecting non- EEA/Swiss national workers. As these are pilot programs, implementation and finalization of guidelines, protocols and processing times may take time integrate into Ireland’s migration policy, it is recommended to review Action Plan proposals with your Irish immigration supplier.

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.

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