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Enterprise, Trade and Employment | Accommodating sectors in industry by way of work permits

To ask the Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the extent to which various sectors in industry are being accommodated by way of work permits in line with their requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Ireland’s employment permits system is designed to accommodate the arrival of non-EEA nationals to fill skills and labour gaps for the benefit of our economy, in the short to medium term, but this objective must be balanced by the need to ensure that there are no suitably qualified Irish/EEA nationals available to undertake the work and that the shortage is a genuine one.

The system is managed by means of two Occupations Lists determining either highly skilled roles in critical short supply or those that are ineligible for an employment permit.  The lists undergo regular, evidence-based review to ensure the system is aligned with current labour market intelligence, guided by relevant research and a public/stakeholder consultation. The views of the Economic Migration Interdepartmental Group and relevant policy Departments are also taken into consideration.

My Department continues to actively respond to the concerns raised by various sectors with regard to the critical short supply of skills in a number of roles crucial to the economy. In framing policy regarding employment permits, consideration is given to wider policy instruments that are also available in meeting the challenges presented by skills shortages. Employment permit policy is part of the response to addressing skills deficits which exist and are likely to continue into the medium term, but it is not intended over the longer term to act as a substitute for meeting the challenge of up-skilling the State’s resident workforce, with an emphasis on the process of lifelong learning, and on maximising the potential of EEA nationals to fill our skills deficits.

My Department also works with other Departments to promote an integrated approach to addressing labour and skills shortages being experienced in the economy and keeps the employment permits system under review in light of changing labour market circumstances. The timing of the next Review of the Occupational Lists is being kept under consideration.

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