The Irish Government has recently announced that it plans to revamp the employment permits process in a bid to attract overseas workers to fill skills gaps, particularly in the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) sector.

The Action Plan for Jobs published by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in February contains a section entitled “Attracting Necessary Skills from Abroad” which indicates that 700 additional employment permits will be provided to the ICT sector in 2013. This will be done by expanding the economic sectors for employment permits to allow for ICT professionals in all sectors of the economy. 

The broader reforms planned for the employment permits process in Ireland this year include:

  • introduction of a unified employment permits application e-form to make completion of the form easier for applicants;
  • updating the application criteria for employment permits to reduce processing times by 33%; and
  • reducing the wage threshold limit, where appropriate, for work permits in key skills areas, such as ICT graduates and technical sales with foreign language skills.

The Department is also considering the development of a ‘trusted partner’ registration system which will provide for the pre-registration of prospective employers.  This will speed up the processing of applications by removing the current requirement of duplicating employers’ credentials with each permit application.  If implemented, this would greatly reduce the administrative burden on employers and provide greater assurance and clarity to employers in terms of the employment permits application process.