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Latest updates and developments in respect to Employment Permits

Outcome of Q2 2017 Review

Following a review of research undertaken by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), consultation with relevant Government Departments and Agencies and an assessment of all submissions made during the public consultation process, no changes are being made to either the highly skilled or ineligible lists. Thus the lists effective from 3 April 2017 remain in place.

The Department wishes to thank those who made submissions.

Q4 2017 Review

Economic Migration Policy Unit is conducting a further review of the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL) and is now seeking wider submissions on these occupations.

Clarification of policy in relation to employees of employment agencies

17 May 2017

The Department has received a number of queries recently regarding the provision of employment permits for prospective staff of companies operating as employment agencies and has now published the following clarification.

Call for Submissions to the Review of the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List

4 April 2017

The next review of the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List has just commenced.

New Employment Permits Regulations 2017 – S.I. No. 95 of 2017

30th March 2017

Since their commencement in October 2014, the Employment Permit Regulations (SI No. 432 of 2014) have been amended four times. In addition, the Trusted Partner Regulations (SI No. 172 of 2015), which commenced in May 2015, have also been amended once. The rate at which the principal regulations have been amended since 2014 demonstrates a dynamic employment permit regime that is responding to an ever-evolving labour market. However, the secondary legislation has become increasingly difficult to navigate. Thus, it was decided all employment permit regulations from 2014 to date be consolidated into a single set.

These new consolidated Employment Permits Regulations will commence on the 3rd April 2017.

These regulations will also provide for the following changes:

  • Changes to the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL)
    • Highly skilled occupations in short supply - In response to changing skills needs in the economy, the Minister has approved the addition to the HSEOL of academics who hold a qualification equivalent to NFQ Level 10 in a given discipline awarded no less than two calendar years prior to the date of application for an employment permit, with a minimum of one academic year of relevant teaching experience, and the employment concerned is in an Irish University or Institute of Technology.

    • General skills in short supply - The Minister has approved an exemption from the ICEL list on a temporary basis for the following occupations in response to evidence that the Irish labour market is experiencing a shortage:
      • HGV drivers who have a CE or C1E driving licence and subject to a maximum quota of 120 General Employment Permits.
      • Meat Deboners continue to be exempt and a second tranche of a 160 General Employment Permits maximum quota is released.
      • Please note that the required labour market needs testfor the niche HGV drivers cannot commence until 3rd April.

Other changes applying to applications received on or after 3rd April 2017

Where an application is made in respect of a Chartered Engineer, an Associate Engineer or an Engineering Technician, a copy of the foreign national’s registration with the Institute of Engineers of Ireland is required to be provided with such applications.

The phrase ‘not elsewhere classified’ has been added in relevant occupation categories on the HSEOL and ICEL in order to clarify that occupations classified elsewhere in the Standard Occupational Classification cannot also be coded under ‘Other’, eg “Other therapy professionals not elsewhere classified”.

Call for Submissions to the Review of Minimum Annual Remuneration (MAR) Thresholds for the Irish Employment Permit System

12 January 2017

Economic Migration Policy Unit is conducting a review of the Employment Permit Minimum Annual Remuneration Thresholds focusing on the Critical Skills Employment Permit, General Employment Permit, Intra Company Transfer Employment Permit and Contract for Services Employment Permit. 

Further details on the questionnaire is available at Call for Submissions to the Review of MAR Thresholds for the Irish Employment Permit System. 

We would be very grateful if stakeholders could take the time to complete the relevant questionnaire by Friday 27th January 2017 and return it to remuneration@djei.ie.

Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) will be unavailable on the afternoon of Wednesday 14th December 2016 from 2.30 pm due to technical enhancements

13 December 2016

It will be necessary to bring EPOS down on the afternoon of Wednesday 14th December 2016 in order for some essential maintenance and to roll out some technical enhancements to the system.  The new enhancements will include

  • "Hours of Work" field - to be enhanced to allow for the entry of decimal places,
  • "County" Address Field - To be moved to below the "Country" field so as to ease completion,
  • Additional Documentary Attachment – at the request of applicants a new document type "Additional Supporting Documentation" will be added to the attachment type dropdown for all applications,
  • Changes to Intra-company Transfer and Contract for Services Remuneration Table - Euro Hourly Rate Calculations will now be made based on the number of hours per week worked by the foreign national rather than on 39 hours per week, and
  • Passport Photo Requirements - the specifications for the Passport Size Photo are being amended so as to ensure that only good quality passport sized photos are uploaded.  Photos should not be scanned and should be in the form of a Digital File Photo saved in a Jpeg format with the following specifications:
    • Minimum width and height of the image should be 413 x 531 (35mm x 45mm @240dpi),
    • Maximum width and height of the image should be 448 x 590 pixels (38mm x 50mm @ 300dpi).

We hope to have the system back up running again by late evening.

Reminder to Trusted Partners to notify Employment Permits Section of any changes to their Company Names

14 November 2016

We understand that under the 2014 Companies Act, all existing private companies limited by shares (i.e. Companies incorporated under the previous Companies Acts) have the option of converting to one of the new company types (LTD or DAC) during a transition period which ends on 30th NOVEMBER 2016.  Such private limited by shares companies that have not applied to the CRO to be converted to either a DAC or an LTD during the transition period will be automatically converted to an LTD by the legislation on 1st December 2016.  Further information can be found on Conversion under Companies Act 2014.

We wish to remind all Trusted Partners that any changes to their company names must be notified to the Employment Permits Section as soon as possible so that their Trusted Partner Registration records can be up-dated. Failure to notify the Department of any changes to the details provided as part of Trusted Partner Registrations may result in the refusal of subsequent Employment Permit applications.

Standard Employers who are the holders of current Employment Permits may also wish to notify us of any changes to their company names following this change.

Call for Submissions to the Review of the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List

13 September 2016

Employment Permits Online System is now live

5 September 2016

We are delighted to announce that the new Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) is now live and available for use.

epos.djei.ie

There is a step by step User Guide available in the Footer Information on the online website. 

The online application system for Employment Permits brings a number of significant benefits:

  • Faster turnaround of applications.
  • Easier, online submission of supporting documentation.
  • Secure Online Fee Payments (where applicable) by credit/debit card.
  • As the new system continuously validates your data and supporting documentation there will be fewer errors and rejected applications.
  • Intuitive user experience with help information and relevant mandatory fields.

The Department therefore invites you to submit your application(s) electronically from now on to avail of these benefits.  The Department would also welcome your feedback in relation to the new online process and if you have any comments or come across any issues you can email us at the dedicated email account at epos@djei.ie.

On Target for Employment Permits Online System September Go-Live

19 August 2016

The Department requests that applicants postpone submitting applications for Employment Permits during the final weeks of August 2016, if at all possible, to enable us to focus all available resources to process applications on hand and prepare for a seamless transition to the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS).

Applications can be submitted online in early September on EPOS which will provide applicants with:

  • Fast turnaround of Applications
  • Intuitive online user experience
  • Online submission of supporting documentation
  • Secure Online Fee Payments (where applicable) by credit/debit card
  • Ease of application completion with help information and relevant mandatory fields
  • Mandatory documentation identified per Permit Type.

Coming Soon…new Employment Permits Online System

02 August 2016

A new Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) will be available to all applicants for Employment Permits in September 2016. Once rolled out, Employment Permit applications and submission of supporting documentation can be made via EPOS along with payments of fees (where applicable) by credit/debit card through a secure payment gateway.

The Employment Permits Online System will offer applicants with

  • Intuitive online user experience
  • Ease of application completion with help information and relevant mandatory fields.
  • Mandatory documentation identified per Permit Type with help information.
  • Fast turnaround of Applications

In order to facilitate the successful and efficient roll out of EPOS some technical changes are required to the Employment Permits Backend Management System. The Section is asking applicants to hold off on submitting in new applications for employment permits during the month of August 2016, if at all possible. Such applications can then be submitted online in early September offering applicants a more seamless and speedier process.

We appreciate your assistance.

New Employment Permits (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2016 – S.I. No. 363 of 2016 and New Employment Permits (Trusted Partner) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 – S.I. No. 403 of 2016

27th July 2016

These new Employment Permits Regulations will commence on 2 August 2016 and 3 August 2016 respectively.

These Regulations will make the following amendments to the existing Regulations:

Changes to the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL)

  • Highly skilled occupations in short supply: In response to changing skills needs in the economy, the Minister has approved the following additions to the HSEOL:
    Paramedics, Respiratory physiologists, accountants working in MNC Global Audit Services, and tax consultants specialising in non-EEA tax consultancy. 
  • General skills in short supply: The Minister has approved an exemption from the ICEL in response to evidence that the Irish labour market is experiencing a shortage in occupations that were up to now ineligible for employment permits:
    Legal associate professionals who are fluent in the official language, apart from English, of a state which is not a Member State of the EEA and who have market knowledge of the non-EEA state. 
  • Applicants should ensure that a Labour Market Needs Test in respect of a vacancy for such a legal associate professional does not commence before 2 August 2016.

New provision

  • The Regulations provide for the roll out of the new Employment Permits Online Application System when available – expected roll out during September 2016. 

Other changes applying to applications received on or after the 2nd August 2016

  • The minimum period a Trainee under the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit Scheme is required to be in the employment of a foreign employer is reduced from 6 months to 1 month.
  • Clarification on information to be submitted by employers who use the SEPA Direct Debit online facility to make returns to Revenue Commissioners.
  • Where an application is made in respect of an occupation listed in Part C, Schedule 2 a copy of the foreign national’s registration with, or recognition of their qualifications by, an appropriate regulatory body or Minister listed in Part C is required to be provided with an application for grant or renewal of an employment permit.
  • Where an application is made in respect of accountants working in MNC Global Audit Services, a copy of the foreign national’s registration with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) is required to be provided with such applications.
  • Clarification provided that in in order to be eligible for an employment permit as an executive chef, head chef, sous chef or specialist chef each must be specialising in non-EEA cuisine.
  • New employment permit application forms incorporating these changes will be made available from the Department shortly.

These new Regulations can be found on our legislation page.

Clarification on UK Citizens and Employment Permits

29th June 2016

The UK remains a full Member of the EU, with all of its existing rights and obligations. Thus, until such time as it formally withdraws from the EU, its citizens are not required to hold an employment permit in order to work in Ireland. For further information go to www.merrionstreet.ie/en/EU-UK/.

New Employment Permits Online Status Update Enquiry

15th February 2016

The Employment Permits Section has developed a new online status enquiry facility and this is now available on our website.  This allows applicants for employment permits to enquire about the current status of their application and an automatic response will issue informing them of the current stage of processing of their application, and where possible, an indication of how much longer it will take for a decision to be made. This is the first of our online improvements we will be offering to our customers in 2016, and will be followed by the introduction of a new online application system for employment permits in Q3 2016.

Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2016 – SI No. 33 of 2016: changes to the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations and the Ineligible Categories of Employment Lists

From 1st February 2016, the following changes to Schedules 3 and 4 of the Employment Permits Regulations (the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL)) come into effect.

Schedule 3 – HSEOL

The following occupations have been added to the HSEOL

  • Material Scientists and Industrial Pharmacists
  • Perfusionists and Gastro Intestinal technologists/physiologists
  • International marketing experts with required domain knowledge specialising in product strategy development and management with technical and product/service knowledge (pharmaceutical, medical devices, Software B2B, SaaS products).

In addition, an explicit reference to “analytical development” has been added to the niche areas under SOC 211 Natural and Science Professionals.

Schedule 4 - ICEL

The following occupations have been removed from the ICEL

  • Paramedics
  • Tourist guides with non-EEA languages
  • Aircraft Maintenance and related trades
  • MIG/TIG welders
  • Computer Numerical Control operatives.

Prospective applicants should note that, where an occupation which has become eligible is subject to a Labour Market Needs Test, this test should not be commenced prior to the occupation’s removal from the ICEL (eg. in this case, 1st February 2016).

New Employment Permits (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2015 – S.I. No. 602 of 2015

The Employment Permits Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 432 of 2014) have been amended to reflect the increase, under the National Minimum Wage Order 2015 (SI No 442 of 2015) of the statutory minimum wage to €9.15 per hour and the Employment Regulation Orders for the Security and Contract Cleaning sectors that came into effect in October 2015. The effect of these changes is outlined below.

In addition, these Regulations amend the Employment Permits Regulations 2014 by amending Schedule 2 in Part A to include private investigators, and in Part B to require the entry onto the appropriate Dental Council Register of specialist dentists in oral surgery, specialist dentists in orthodontics, clinical dental technicians, dental hygienists and dental nurses.

These new Regulations come into effect on 1st January 2016 and can be found on our legislation page.

Revised remuneration requirements for specific Employment Permit types

11th December 2015

With effect from 1 January 2016, under the National Minimum Wage Order 2015 (SI No 442 of 2015), the statutory minimum wage will increase to €9.15 per hour. Also with effect from 1 October 2015, Employment Regulation Orders for the Security and Contract Cleaning sectors came into effect.

The revised minimum rates of remuneration provided for by these orders effect changes to the minimum remuneration rates in respect of the following employment permits:

Under the Dependent/Partner Spouse EP the minimum hourly rate of remuneration:

(a) will be €9.15 set by National Minimum Wage Order 2015 (SI. No. 442 of 2015),

(b) is €9.75 set by Employment Regulation Order (Contract Cleaning Joint Labour Committee) 2015 (S.I. No.418 of 2015), or

(c) is €10.75 set by Employment Regulation Order (Security Industry Joint Labour Committee) 2015 (S.I. No.417 of 2015).

Under the Exchange EP, Internship EP, Reactivation EP and Sport & Cultural EP:

(a) the minimum annual remuneration will be €18,556 and in respect of which the minimum hourly rate of remuneration will be €9.15 set by National Minimum Wage Order 2015 (S.I. No.442 of 2015),

(b) the minimum annual remuneration is €19,773 and in respect of which the minimum hourly rate of remuneration is €9.75 set by Employment Regulation Order (Contract Cleaning Joint Labour Committee) 2015 (S.I. No.418 of 2015), or

(c) the minimum annual remuneration is €21,801 and in respect of which the minimum hourly rate of remuneration is €10.75 set by Employment Regulation Order (Security Industry Joint Labour Committee) 2015 (S.I. No.417 of 2015).”

In respect of the Intra Company Transfer EP and Contract for Services EP the basic salary, as the first component of the remuneration package, must achieve at least these revised statutory rates as applicable.

It is important to note that these revised rates will/apply to employments in respect of which employment permits are already in force.

Administrative changes effective from the 12th October 2015

28 September 2015

The Employment Permits Section is getting ready to go online and is commencing development of the system over the next few weeks.

In preparation for the launch of online payment and applications next year we are further streamlining our processes.

We will no longer be pre-checking applications to ensure they are complete. What does this mean for you? It is more important than ever to make sure you are submitting a fully completed form! Leave no box or question incomplete and make sure all supporting documents accompany the application.

We will no longer keep records of incomplete applications we receive and return. What does this mean for you? You will typically receive incomplete applications within 48 hours of submitting them.

Applicants who are paying by electronic fund transfer (EFT) must effect the transfer of the relevant fees within 5 working days.  What does this mean for you? In cases where this is not complied with, your application will be rejected and returned to you.

Who will benefit from these changes? Everyone who submits fully complete applications first time will benefit from speedier decisions.

Important Notice for applicants for Employment Permits 

Changes to existing Regulations on commencement of the Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2015

28 August 2015

The Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2015 will commence on 1st September 2015.  These Regulations will make the following amendments to the existing Regulations:

Changes to Highly Skilled Occupations List and Ineligible List

  • Skills in short supply: There is evidence that the Irish labour market is experiencing a shortage in occupations that were ineligible up to now for employment permits. To respond to this shortage, the Minister has approved the removal of the following occupations from the Ineligible List: 

  -telecommunications engineers

  -IT engineers

  -Chiropractors who are members of the Chiropractic Association of Ireland

  -mobility instructors for the visually impaired

  -meat boners*

*A limited number of General Employment Permits in respect of boners (meat) are being made available to eligible applicants to work in the meat sector. This is to meet demand for skilled boners in that industry. A maximum number of 200 General Employment Permits are provided for in these  Regulations and the minimum annual remuneration for such positions is €27,500. 

NOTE: Applicants under these new occupations should ensure that a Labour Market Needs Test, where required, does not commence until 1st September. 

  •  Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List – In response to changing skills needs in the medical sector, radiation therapists, orthotists and prosthetists are now deemed highly-skilled occupations, while healthcare practice managers and senior social services managers and directors are removed. 
  • Additions to Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits List  There is evidence that no shortages exist in the Irish labour market for a range of services managers, such as betting shop managers, graphic design managers, library managers, plant hire managers, production managers, and property, housing and estate managers. The Regulations add these occupations to the range of occupations that are not eligible for employment permits.  This is also the case with dispensing opticians. 

Other changes

  • P30s – To date, a P30 in support of an employment permit application had to be valid (i.e. submitted to Revenue) within two months of the date of the permit application. This will now be extended to three months. 

  • Passports – To date, the passport of an applicant for a renewal permit had to be valid for 12 months prior to the date of application. To make it easier for renewal applicants, the passport need only be valid for three months. NOTE: 12 months validity still applies for first-time applications. 
  • Chefs – Applications for permits from the hospitality sector must, in most circumstances, be accompanied by a letter confirming that the chef will not be working in a fast food outlet and that the cuisine originates in a non-EEA country.  The Regulations provide greater clarity regarding when this statement must be provided,  i.e. that it is only required for the following employment permits - Critical Skills Employment Permits, General Employment Permits, Sport and Cultural Employment Permits and Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits. 
  • New Forms – The regulations will also prescribe a new suite of standard employment permit application forms for the grant and renewal of employment permits, forms notifying dismissal by reason of redundancy and change of name, and form submitting decision for review.  There are no changes to our Trusted Partner Registration forms and Trusted Partner Employment Permit application forms.  The new forms will be available on the website from Monday 31th August 2015. 
  • Registration requirements - Occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and dieticians will now be required to register with CORU prior to the grant of an employment permit.

These Regulations revoke the Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

Trusted Partner Initiative

12 May 2015

One of the Minister’s commitments in the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 was the implementation of a new Trusted Partner Initiative for applicants for employment permits. The Initiative has now commenced and was launched by the Minister on 12th May 2015. The main aim of the Initiative is to reduce the administrative burden on employers in the filling of key shortage occupations in the labour market, particularly in the IT area, where the skills are not available in Ireland or the EEA.

More information on the Trusted Partner Initiative

Green Card and Critical Skills Employment Permit holders

6 March 2015

With effect from 1st April 2015, Green Card and Critical Skills Employment Permit holders, on expiry of their permits, will be required to include a letter from this Department verifying their continuing employment in their application for a Stamp 4. Further details can be found in the Important Notice for Critical Skills and Green Card Employment Permit holders.

Help us get your permit to you faster!

6 March 2015

Take a look at the five most common reasons why permit applications get sent back to applicants.

• No GNIB details on the form.

• No details of qualifications and final subjects taken.

• The correct application fee in respect of the relevant permit type is not submitted.

• The ‘Details of Payment’ portion of application is not completed correctly.

• Up to date Revenue Documentation in respect of the proposed employer/connected person/contractor not submitted with the application.

Other common reasons for applications being sent back to you include:

• The relevant required pages of the foreign national’s passport not submitted.

• Details of advertisement of vacancy with Department of Social Protection Employment Services/EURES not completed plus newspaper advertisements, not submitted where required.

• The required Declarations have not been completed and signed by the appropriate people.

Help us to help you by making sure that the form is completed properly and in full.

Clarification on requirements in respect of Remuneration, Board and Accommodation and Health Insurance for the purposes of Intra-Company Transfer and Contract for Services Employment Permit Applications

18 December 2014

The following note is designed to clarify the requirements in respect of Remuneration, Board and Accommodation and Health Insurance for the purposes of Intra-Company Transfer or Contract for Services Employment Permit Applications. We hope that it will facilitate applicants for Intra-Company Transfer and Contract for Service Employment Permits in relation to the information required when filling out such applications.

Clarification on requirements in respect of Remuneration, Board and Accommodation and Health Insurance for the purposes of Intra-Company Transfer and Contract for Services Employment Permit Applications

Amendments to Employment Permits Regulations 2014 

11 November 2014

The Employment Permits Regulations 2014 have been amended and Schedule 3, which relates to employments in respect of which there is a shortage in respect of qualifications, experience or skills which are required for the proper functioning of the economy, and Schedule 4, which relates to employments in respect of which an employment permit shall not be granted have been updated. Link to new Schedules below:

Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List

Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits

Scanned Signatures

23 October 2014

With immediate effect, Employment Permits Section will, in most circumstances, now be accepting scanned signatures with the original form. Please note that the Minister still reserves the right to request the original signature(s) in certain circumstances.

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