Ireland: Public Consultation for Economic Migration Policies

Irish authorities are conducting a review of the economic migration policies that underpin the employment permit system. As part of the review, the authorities are inviting submissions from representative bodies and interested parties regarding the content of the guiding principles for Ireland's Economic Migration policy.

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Mar 28, 2018
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The situation

The Irish authorities have invited submissions from representative bodies and interested parties by Monday, April 9, 2018 at 5 PM GMT regarding eight key policy areas that frame Ireland’s policy on migrant work.

A closer look

The eight key policies for which submissions are sought are:

  • European Economic Area preference: This principle states that Ireland should aim to fulfill labour needs from within the European Economic Area (EEA). Included in this principle is the requirement for employers seeking to hire foreign nationals under an employment permit in Ireland to have at least 50% of their workforce from Ireland or the EEA, with some exceptions. It also includes the Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT), which ensures that an offer of employment is first made to those already in the local and EEA labour market before an application is made to employ a non-EEA national.
    • Submissions. Submissions are sought on the role, relevance and value of these rules.

 

  • Labour market responsiveness. Current policy requires that every job opportunity is given to Irish and EEA workers in the first instance. 
    • Submissions. Authorities are seeking submissions on making the employment permit system less restrictive when the labour market is tightening or at full employment; improving the link between market intelligence and labour migration policy; and providing evidence to remove an occupation from the ineligible list.  
  • Skills shortage. This principle recognizes the need to obtain skills from outside the EEA for highly-skilled roles which are not found locally. In order to do so, Ireland has an employment permit scheme, the Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP), which seeks to attract highly-skilled non-EEA workers in occupations with skills shortages.
    • Submissions. Submissions ask for observations on the principle, permit type and remuneration threshold for attracting highly-skilled workers for short-term skill gaps.

 

  • Sector preferences. This is the principle that preference should be given to employers and sectors best positioned to grow Ireland’s economy.
    • Submissions. Authorities are seeking guidance on whether preferences should be given to particular sectors of employment, particularly in relation to sectors that have the potential to grow the Irish economy.

 

  • Balanced approach to innovation and labour market. Irish authorities are concerned that providing low-skilled labour does not prevent companies from developing new work practices, such as automation.
    • Submission. The consultation asks whether there should be a cap on low-skilled occupations in the employment permit sector.

 

  • Net contributor. Under this principle, employment permit holders should make a positive net contribution to the Irish economy without recourse to Irish resources.
    • Submissions. The authorities are asking for detailed input on remuneration and related areas.

 

  • Employment rights. This principle concerns the concept that migrant workers are a vulnerable class of people and employment rights are required to prevent against potential abuse.
    • Submissions. Submissions ask for views on existing safeguards that protect the employment rights of migrant workers.

 

  • Legislative framework and process. Under this principle, the employment permit regime should be administratively effective and efficient, have a clear legislative basis, and be sufficiently flexible to react to changes in the labour market.
    • Submissions. The authorities invite concerned organisations to make submissions on the employment permit application process and any recommendations that may allow the employment permit system to allow for more flexibility.

 

 

Impact

At this point, it is too early to determine the impact of the consultations on Irish immigration policy, however often times, consultation results may impact future policy changes.

Background

Following its recovery from a period of high unemployment during the economic crisis, Ireland is now approaching full employment. As such, the authorities now wish to conduct a review of the economic migration policies that underpin the employment permits system.

Looking ahead

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has proposed to make public on its website all submissions received under this consultation. However, should clients wish to submit information that they consider commercially sensitive, they must identify that information in their submission and give reasons for considering it commercially sensitive. The Department will consult with them directly regarding such information before making a decision to disclose it.

The Department has also stated that it intends to complete the policy review by the end of June. It is unclear if and when a report will then be published.

Fragomen can assist clients with submission preparation.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to ireland@fragomen.com.

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