The Government undertakes a bi-annual review of the Irish employment permits system, taking into account labour market conditions and views from various stakeholders, to ensure that the regime reflects industry and labour market needs.

On 31 May 2019, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation opened the consultation process for the 2019 mid-year review of the Critical Skills Occupations List and Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits (the Occupations Lists) which are used to regulate the types of jobs for which non-EEA nationals may apply for an employment permit to work in Ireland.

Interested parties such as representative bodies, government departments and agencies can make submissions on the nature and extent of skills shortages and how they would like the Occupations Lists to be amended. The consultation process closes tomorrow. The Occupations Lists may be adjusted in the coming months arising from the results of the mid-year review.

A number of changes have already been made to the Occupations Lists this year which came into effect on 22 April 2019 and are set out below.

Addition of occupations to the Critical Skills Occupations List

Non-EEA nationals seeking to take up positions which are on the Critical Skills Occupations List may be eligible for the Critical Skills Employment Permit (the CSEP) which is aimed at attracting highly skilled people into the Irish labour market and provides for a "fast track" to Irish citizenship. Jobs on the Critical Skills Occupations List are considered to be critically important to the Irish economy and include roles in ICT, finance and medicine.

CSEP holders may apply for immediate family reunification and their spouses/partners do not require an employment permit in their own right to enter employment in the State. After two years, CSEP holders may apply for permission to work without the need for an employment permit.

The following occupations have been added to the Critical Skills Occupations List:

  • Civil engineers
  • Quantity surveyors
  • Construction project managers
  • Mechanical and electrical engineers with BIM capabilities
  • High performance directors and coaches for high-level sports organisations

Removal of certain occupations from the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits

An employment permit will not be granted in respect of positions which are listed on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits. The following positions have been removed from the list which means that they now qualify for a General Employment Permit (GEP):

  • Sheet metal workers
  • Welding trades
  • Pipefitters
  • Air-conditioning & refrigeration engineers
  • Shuttering carpenters
  • Glaziers, window fabricators & fitters
  • Scaffolders, stagers & riggers
  • Crane drivers
  • Career guidance teachers (secondary school)

Certain other positions have been removed from the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits, however, only a certain number of GEPs may be issued in respect of these roles:

  • Transport and distribution clerks and assistants (freight forwarders; cargo & freight agents; brokerage clerks) subject to a quota of 300 permits
  • Plasterers subject to a quota of 250 permits
  • Bricklayers subject to a quota of 250 permits.