The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI), which is responsible for issuing employment permits, and the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD), which is responsible for visa services and residency permissions, have implemented a number of contingency arrangements to allow the employment permit system and immigration services to remain operational.

The following measures are in place until 20 July 2020 and may be further extended:

Employment permits and Stamp 4 applications

The DBEI are continuing to process employment permit applications and have successfully reduced their processing times to three weeks for Trusted Partner applications and 11 weeks for standard applications.

Hardcopy employment permits have temporarily been replaced by soft copy documentation in PDF format and it is envisaged that hardcopy documents will be sent by post once normal services resume.

To facilitate this change, immigration authorities at border control have agreed that these soft copy permits will be acceptable for now where a foreign national is entering the State for work purposes.

Applications for Stamp 4 letters of support can temporarily be submitted electronically.

Visas

The ISD has temporarily ceased processing visa applications except for emergency/priority cases. Visa applications can still be submitted online and applicants will be able to submit their supporting documentation as soon as their relevant embassy re-opens. This means visa required nationals are currently unable to enter Ireland.

Residency permission

All Registration Offices, as of 20 March, including Burgh Quay and those operated by An Garda Síochána, have closed temporarily. As a result the following temporary measures are in place until 20 July 2020:

  • Anyone in the State awaiting their first registration as an employment permit holder or spouse/partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or spouse/partner of an Irish National and who has a current, valid permission to remain in the State can make an online application to the Registration Office for a letter confirming their permission to remain.

  • All valid permissions that were due to expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020 were automatically renewed by 2 months. As of 13 May 2020, this renewal period was extended for an additional two months.

  • All valid immigration permissions that are due to expire between 20 May 2020 and 20 July 2020 are automatically being renewed for two months.

  • The renewal of these permissions is on the same basis as the existing permission.

  • Foreign nationals who arrive in the State on an employment permit and are therefore required to register with the ISD within 90 days of arrival, are not required to do so until the Registration Offices reopen or alternative arrangements are put in place.

  • Applications for certain change of permissions can be submitted electronically.

EU Treaty Right Applications

EU Treaty Rights and Domestic applications are still being processed and can be submitted electronically. However, the EUTR offices have advised that there may be a delay in processing these applications at this time.

Travel

Travel in and out of Ireland is still permitted. The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival and to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form to this effect. The requirement to restrict movements could impact their ability to start work immediately and employers should bear this in mind.

Conclusion

Despite the economic and social upheaval caused by the current pandemic, the Government bodies responsible for regulating and operating the Irish immigration system have shown their resilience by implementing a number of measures to ensure that Ireland remains operational and open for foreign national employees despite the measures introduced to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

We are closely monitoring the constantly evolving impact that COVID-19 is having on the business immigration efforts of our clients. We will report any further developments as they occur.