THE GOVERNMENT IS to make it easier for skilled workers from outside the EU to get a permit to work in Ireland.
The Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 will bring in nine different ways to be granted an employment permit with Jobs Minister Richard Bruton saying that it is necessary to make Ireland a more competitive destination for online companies.
As part of the bill, certain skills which are identified as being in short supply will be identified and applicants from abroad will be able to apply for these under the new Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP).
A similar permit, known as the ‘Green card scheme’ is already in place but is to be changed because of its association with the US immigration system.
An associated permit to enable the family members of holders of CSEPs to work in the State is also to be enacted. The rationale for this is that, in order to attract foreign nationals to apply for CSEPs, provision must also be made for their families where appropriate.
A number of other new permits are also to be initiated, these include permits that allow for the temporary transfer of workers between companies as well as a specific permit for sport and the arts.
Publishing the legislation, Bruton says that research has shown that for every high-end tech job created, a further 4-5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy.
He explains that the new rules will lead to a 58 per cent reduction in the processing time for employment permits and will provide flexibility in the labour market:
The ICT sector is a central part of our Action Plan for Jobs, and since taking office we have put in place a range of measures to support accelerated job-creation in this area. Skills is key to this, as one of the biggest issues faced by businesses considering creating jobs in this sector is the availability of skilled graduates to do the work needed.
The minister adds that he is working with Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to ensure that Irish graduates are being educated to take up jobs in the ICT area.
“Under the most recent ICT Action Plan at least 3 out of 4 vacancies in the ICT sector will be filled by graduates from Irish colleges, this is a major leap forward from the 45 per cent that prevailed in 2011,” he says.
Hussein v The Labour Court
The new legislation also seeks to address a high court ruling which found that an immigrant worker who did not have a work permit was not entitled to back-pay from an employer who employed him.
In the ‘Younis case’, the High Court found that that the employment contract was unlawful and overturned an earlier decision of the Labour Court which awarded the man the monies
The new legislation amends the 2003 Employment Permits Act and now provides a defence to a foreign national where they can prove that they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that they were in compliance.
A further section in bill seeks to deter employers from employing foreign nationals without an employment permit by permitting the foreign national to take civil action for compensation against the employer, notwithstanding the illegality of the contract.