What is the change? Ireland has published a statutory instrument that consolidates changes made to Ireland’s Employment Permit and Trusted Partner programs since they were implemented in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

What does the change mean? Among those who will have an easier time bringing foreign nationals to Ireland under the changes are employers hiring academics, meat deboners and heavy goods vehicle drivers. Documentation requirements have changed for some engineers such that their employment permit applications must be supported by a copy of the applicant’s registration with the Institute of Engineers of Ireland.

  • Implementation time frame: The consolidated regulations took effect April 3.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers seeking employment permits for foreign nationals to work in Ireland, including employers who participated in the Trusted Partner Program.
  • Business impact: Businesses should become familiar with the consolidated regulations, including the additions to the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and exemptions from the Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL).

Background: SI No 95 of 2017 Employment Permits Regulations 2017 was published at the end of March and took effect April 3. Among other changes in the consolidated regulations, officials have:

  • Added to the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List. Academics who hold qualifications equivalent to NFQ Level 10 in their area of scholarship have been added to the HSEOL, provided the qualification was awarded no less than two years before the application date. The applicant must also have at least one academic year of relevant teaching experience and must be applying for an employment permit in order to teach at an Irish university or technology institute.
  • Approved exemptions to the Ineligible Categories of Employment List. Temporary exemptions from the ICEL have been made (or have been continued) for (1) meat deboners and (2) heavy goods vehicle drivers, provided they have a CE or C1E driving license. An additional 160 general employment permits were made available for meat deboners and 120 for heavy goods vehicle drivers meeting the criteria listed above.
  • Adjusted documentation requirements for some engineers. Employment permit applications for chartered engineers, associate engineers or engineering technicians must be accompanied by a copy of the applicant’s registration with the Institute of Engineers of Ireland.
  • Clarified which occupation categories can be placed under “other” on the HSEOL and ICEL. Occupations that are classified elsewhere in the Standard Occupation Classification cannot be coded as “other” on the HSEOL and ICEL.

Ireland is currently accepting recommendations from employers and other stakeholders on the occupations that should be included or removed from the HSEOL and ICEL. The lists are reviewed on a biannual basis.

BAL Analysis: The regulations consolidate changes that were adopted since the implementation of the Employment Permit Scheme in 2014 and the Trusted Partner program in 2015. The Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said the regulations were promulgated to respond to an “ever-evolving labour market,” and that it became necessary for the regulations to be consolidated in the statutory instrument. Those with questions about the changes should contact their BAL professional.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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