What is the change? The Irish government has amended the Employment Permit Regulations, making changes to passport validity requirements, labor market needs testing and salary thresholds for Critical Skills Employment Permits.

What does the change mean? Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the amendments and adjust plans as necessary.

  • Visas/permits affected: Employment Permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers hiring foreign nationals who require an Employment Permit to work in Ireland.

Additional information: Some of the changes will take effect immediately; others will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. Among the changes that have taken immediate effect:

  • Employment Permit applicants can submit an application with only six months remaining on their passport. Previously, at least 12 months were required. Applicants who require an entry visa (i.e., those from visa-required countries) will still be required to have at least 12 months remaining on their passport to apply for an entry visa. This change will accommodate a quicker employment permit process for some applicants who may have needed to apply for a renewed passport.
  • The maximum number of Employment Permits that can be issued to dairy farm assistants and meat boners has been increased. This will allow employers in the dairy and meat industries to fill their labor market shortages.

Among the changes that will take effect Jan. 1:

  • The minimum annual remuneration thresholds for Critical Skills Employment Permits will increase. The threshold will increase to €32,000 (from €30,000) for those roles where the foreign national has a relevant qualification and to €64,000 (from €60,000) for all roles not on the ineligible list where the foreign national has relevant experience. These thresholds only apply to the Critical Skills Employment Permit and have no impact on the General Employment permit or Intra-Company Transfer permit. Affected employers, especially those with graduate populations in highly skilled roles, are encouraged to consider the 6.7% increase when setting hiring budgets for 2020.
  • The labor market needs test will be updated. Where applying for a general employment permit (and not using the exception for roles that are highly skilled or supported by IDA/EI), the vacancy must be advertised on the websites hosted by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for 28 days (up from 14 days).

Analysis & Comments: The amendments are part of the Irish government’s ongoing review of economic migration policy. The changes are in line with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s willingness to engage with business to continue economic growth in Ireland – allowing increased flexibility by reducing passport validity and increased quotas for dairy and meat industries that are suffering labor shortages. The changes to the remuneration thresholds are in line with the recommendations of the Review of Economic Migration report, which noted that because of the premium nature of the CSEP permit, the salary thresholds should be increased by 6.7% in line with that of the average employees in Ireland. The report also recommended increasing the labor market needs test.

The Irish Government is continuing to review their immigration processes, across the DBEI and Department of Justice and Equality, to improve the corporate immigration system in Ireland in order to attract further skilled talent and support the ongoing growth of business in Ireland. Further updates are expected and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

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