Irish Government To Increase Competitiveness By Attracting Skills.

  • Ireland can now enable spouses and partners of employment permit holders, already in the State, to work to fill vital gaps in the Irish workforce, such as in healthcare and construction.
  • The Government will begin to roll out a single permit to both work and live in Ireland, creating a smoother, more efficient system for applicants; thereby increasing Ireland’s attractiveness for the skills and talent the economy needs.
  • Ireland will work towards opting-in to the EU Single Permit Directive as a key part of the EU Skills and Talent Package, working with EU partners.

The Minister for Justice Mrs Helen McEntee TD and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mr Peter Burke TD, yesterday (Wednesday May 15th), announced that they have secured Government agreement for a number of key actions to increase the competitiveness of Ireland in attracting the skills and talent the Irish economy requires.

This will enable all eligible spouses and partners of employment permit holders to work, if they are already in the State and are granted permission to live in Ireland with their family member. Implementing a single permit will eventually allow Ireland to opt into the EU’s Single Permit Directive.

Both of these new measures should significantly enhance Ireland’s ability to compete internationally to attract talent, addressing skills shortages in the Irish economy, thus promoting economic growth.

Presently, applicants must apply to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for a work permit, before then applying to the Department of Justice to obtain a visa. By introducing one single permission/application, Ireland can reduce the cost and complexity for both the employer and applicant, thus ensuring that Ireland can respond more effectively and quickly to meet the skills needs of the economy.

Skills gaps affect all EU Member States, including Ireland. All EU Member States, except Ireland and Denmark, already operate a single permit for employment and residence. Other key partners, such as the UK and the US, also operate single application procedures and single permits. The currently operated process requiring separate applications, creates greater bureaucracy, risking placing Ireland at a competitive disadvantage in attracting skills and talent to the Irish economy.

By opting in to the Single Permit Directive, the Government will remove barriers in attracting key skills into Ireland, in important sectors such as healthcare and construction and reduce the cost and complexity of the current system.

Many spouses are skilled workers who have left significant jobs and employment oppertunities, in order to join their families within the Irish State, and who wish to continue their careers here in Ireland.

Currently, the ability to work without a permit was only provided to spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders. This has now been extended to include General Employment Permit holders and Intra-Corporate Transferee Permit holders who are already in the State and who have been granted permission to live in Ireland with their family member.
Current and future permit holders, whose spouses or partners are not in the State, will still need to apply for family reunification after 12 months

This change will, it is hoped, have an immediate positive impact for the economy and for spouses and partners who wish to work in Ireland, assisting them to contribute to the economy through taxation, to further integrate and to provide for their families.


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