Global Alerts

IRELAND – New Employment Permit Bill Signed Into Law

On July 25th, 2014, Irish President, Michael Higgins, signed the Employment Permits (Amendment)Bill 2014 into law. The recently enacted law, created to make significant changes to Ireland’s Employment Permit (EP) system, will go into effect on September 1st, 2014. Part of the complete overhaul includes the establishment of new types of permits available to non-EEA nationals, as listed below:

  1. Critical Skills EPs (to replace the Irish Green Card Permit)
  2. Intra-Company Transfer EPs
  3. Dependent/Partner/Spousal (DPS) EPs
  4. General EPs
  5. Contract for Services EPs
  6. Reactivation EPs
  7. Internship EPs
  8. Sports and Cultural EPs
  9. Exchange Agreements EPs

Additionally, the law’s changes entail modifications to and clarifications of the highly skilled and ineligible lists, based on the Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC). The Irish government intends to conduct biannual reviews of these lists to guarantee that they are responsive to the emerging skills needs and changes in skills demand within the Irish economy.

Under the new law, Labor Market Needs Test (LMNT) requirements will be both retained and extended. All applications, regardless of the applicant, for General and Contract for Services EP’s, will require a LMNT. Please note, certain grounds for waiver have already been determined.

The 50/50 rule will also be retained and extended under this new law. This rule states that the Irish entity may not have more that 50% non-EU national employees working at their facility and applies to applications, both new and renewal, regardless of applicant. The Irish government has set into place certain grounds for waiver of this requirement such as start-up companies, employers with a sole employee or renewal of EP’s issued prior to the bill enactment.

As another change, Ireland will pilot a new Trusted Partner Registration Scheme by the end of 2014. Sponsoring employers accredited by the program will benefit from shorter permit processing times, fewer supporting documentation requirements, and a waiver of labor market testing requirements. Initially, participation in this scheme will only be made available to existing clients and new start-ups who have been nominated by the IDA or Enterprise Ireland. The application to obtain Trusted Partner status must be accompanied by an IDA support letter. Following approval, employers will be granted unique Trusted Partner reference number, which will remain valid for a period of two years. Participation in the program will be free. Currently, it has been proposed to introduce the scheme as a one year pilot. Further details about the pilot program are expected to be released later this year.

For more information about the new law, please see the Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation site.

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