A new bill published this week proposes to introduce some new employment permit types, waive the 50:50 rule in specified circumstances and streamline permit processes.
Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) published the General Scheme of the Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill 2019 (Bill) this week. The purpose of the Bill is to replace existing Irish immigration legislation and the Employment Permits Acts 2003 to 2014, with a new consolidated piece of legislation and to introduce the following:
- New Employment Permit Types
Two new types of employment permit are proposed. The Seasonal Employment Permit will grant flexibility to the tourism and agriculture sectors. Such permits are common in other countries. The Special Circumstances Employment Permit will be used to fill roles which are of benefit to Ireland economically or socially and which do not fit under current employment permits.
- 50:50 Rule
A waiver of the 50:50 rule is proposed in specified circumstances. The current ’50:50′ rule requires employers to show that at least 50% of their employees are EEA nationals where they are seeking an employment permit to hire non-EEA nationals. The proposal is to waive this rule where the proposed candidate is the sole employee of the company. This would be a welcome development for foreign companies planning to invest in Ireland.
- Streamlining Processing
Several provisions to streamline the practice of obtaining employment permits are proposed. These changes will be welcomed by employers in light of the permit application statistics released this week (5 November) by the DBEI. In total, there have been 12,241 permit applications in 2019 to date with a 9.5% refusal rate.
Employers familiar with the employment permits system will be aware of the temporal, monetary and operational costs of a refused application. The employment permits system in Ireland is governed by a mixture of fluctuating policy and hard law. Issues frequently arise when employers are unable to keep up with the latest policy changes implemented by the DBEI. These proposed changes will be welcomed by employers, candidates and practitioners.