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Latest employment permits updates and developments

Application processing times and status

Temporary Reopening of the Quota for Meat Processing Operatives

 03 August 2021

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has been advised that due to a number of factors a small number of employment permits which issued under the quota scheme for meat processing operatives were not taken up.  As a result the Department has cancelled these permits and has decided to temporarily reopen the meat processing operatives quota so that these unused employment permits can be redistributed on a first come basis. 

Changes to Employment Permits Critical Skills and Ineligible Lists of Occupations

18 June 2021

The Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2021, Statutory Instrument No. SI 286 of 2021, introduced the following changes as of 14 June 2021.

Revised Critical Skills and Ineligible Occupations

Inclusion to the Critical Skills Occupations List. The following occupation has been included to the list:

  • Dietician 

The Critical Skills Occupations List can be found here: Critical Skills Occupations List

Ineligible Occupations. The following occupations were removed from the Ineligible List:

  • Social Worker
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Health Care Assistant:
    • A minimum remuneration threshold salary of at least €27,000 
    • When applying for a renewal employment permit – Health Care Assistant should have attained a relevant QQI Level 5 qualification after two years employment in the State 

The Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits can be found here: Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits

 

Important notice regarding the temporary changes to Ireland's Visa requirements and employment permit regime

20 May 2021

With immediate effect, the Department of Justice are now including ‘people travelling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business ’ among the categories for whom they have recommenced accepting and processing visa applications.

As a result of these new arrangements, the Employment Permits Section will no longer need to seek information as to the criticality of the employment permit application prior to processing.

Full details on the updated Visa Processing times and decisions at the Dublin Visa Office is available at the following link – http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/visas-updates

All employees traveling to the State for employment/business purposes will be required to adhere to all public health measures including mandatory hotel quarantine as required.

Any queries regarding the processing of visa applications should be directed to the Department of Justice.

Employment Permits Section
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Submitting documents to Employment Permits Section

12 May 2021

In line with public health advice, all staff are working remotely, and we currently have no physical presence in our office. Applicants are asked not to send any applications or documents by post as we may not be able to receive and process these.

Please be advised that the Employment Permits Section are accepting all correspondence electronically.

The relevant mailbox to send documents are as follows:

Trusted Partner applications (new/renewal) - trustedpartner@enterprise.gov.ie 

EFT Mandate Forms - EPMS@enterprise.gov.ie  

Stamp 4 (Applications only) - EPStamp4@enterprise.gov.ie

Review of Decisions (Applications only) - EPReviews@enterprise.gov.ie

Surrender of Permits/Notification of Redundancy/Cancellation of Permits - EPMS@enterprise.gov.ie

Important notice regarding temporary changes to Ireland's Visa requirements and employment permit regime

The Department of Justice has recently announced new temporary measures as part of the Government's efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The new measures include an announcement that the Department is to impose new Visa requirements on passport holders from a number of countries in South America and South Africa and that it is also to temporarily cease accepting new Visa / preclearance applications from all relevant countries except certain priority/emergency situations listed.

Certain Priority / Emergency cases will continue to be processed and these include the following:

  • workers or self-employed persons exercising critical occupations including healthcare workers, frontier and posted workers as well as seasonal workers as referred to in the Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;
  • patients travelling for imperative medical reasons;
  • pupils, students, and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study;
  • persons travelling for imperative family or business reasons;
  • diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, military personnel and police officers, and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;
  • passengers in transit;
  • seafarers;
  • journalists, when performing their duties.

The Department intends to resume accepting applications as soon as safety concerns abate. Full details on a the above can be found on the Department of Justice website at the following link: inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/visas-updates

There may be mandatory quarantine periods for individuals travelling to Ireland from other countries, please check the latest advice (at bottom of page) for further information.

These new temporary arrangements will affect some employment permit holders or applications.

Employment permit applications from a visa required country

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is continuing to process applications for employment permits. However, given the new temporary visa arrangements, it may not be possible for individuals from visa required countries to travel to the State at this time unless the individual qualifies as one of the priority/emergency situations as listed above. As such, a new process is being implemented whereby all employment permit applicants (employers and employees) for passport holders from visa required countries will be contacted and asked if they would like to:

  • Proceed with the application as it is considered that the role is on the priority/emergency list.
  • Hold application in the employment permit processing queue for processing at a later date, when the temporary Visa arrangements have been rescinded.
  • Withdraw the application with a full refund provided.

Employment permit applications for a non-visa required country

Employment Permit applications for non-visa required countries will continue to be processed. The advice from the Department of Justice is that everyone, regardless of their nationality or visa/preclearance status, or where they started from, who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland, should not travel to Ireland. We are advised that people traveling to Ireland will be asked about the nature of their journey when they arrive in the State.

Employment Permits Section, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, 8 February 2021.

Update on Quota for Deboners

1 February 2021 

The Employment Permits Regulations 2017, Statutory Instrument No. 333 of 2019, set a maximum quota of 300 General Employment Permits for Meat Deboners. This quota has now been filled. 

Please do not submit new applications for Meat Deboners at this time.

Important notices regarding the printing of employment permits

8 January 2021

In advance of reading this notice please be assured that the contingency arrangements (link at bottom of notice) introduced by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment back in March 2020 will continue in full for the foreseeable future and the Department will continue to issue the electronic version of the employment permit to employees / employers / agents. There is no change to this current process.

As a result of the country operating under Level 5 of the "Plan for Living with COVID-19", the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has taken the decision to pause the printing of employment permits granted since March 2020 (which have already issued electronically but were not printed due to COVID-19). To be clear, all employment permit permissions will continue to issue electronically (as they have since March 2020), it is only the printing of these already issued permissions that is being paused.

Any future changes regarding this decision will be communicated to stakeholders.

The Department's Employment Permits Contingency Arrangements continue to be in effect in full.

Any queries relating to the printing of permits should be e-mailed to the dedicated mailbox which has been set up to deal specifically with such queries. The email address for this mailbox is EPPrintingqueries@enterprise.gov.ie. Please allow 3-5 working days for a response.

8 December 2020

In advance of reading this notice please be assured that the contingency arrangements (link at bottom of notice) introduced by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment back in March 2020 will continue in full for the foreseeable future and the Department will continue to issue the electronic version of the employment permit to employees/employers/agents. There is no change to this current process.

The Employment Permits Section will this week commence the printing of Employment Permits granted since March 2020 which were issued electronically but not printed due to COVID-19. Employment Permits will be printed in date order from when the application was received by this Department. Both the original and certified copies of the permits concerned will be printed. The original permit will be addressed to the permit holder and sent to their employer/agent who is then asked to ensure that the employee receives the original permit. The certified copy will be sent separately to the employer/agent to be retained.

Permits that have expired or been cancelled since being issued electronically in March or permits that will expire before the end of January 2021 will not be printed. Please note it is anticipated that it will take a few months to clear the existing backlog and any further updates will be published on the 'Latest Updates' section of our website.

You are not required to do anything after receipt of this notice, the purpose of which is to inform you that the printing of the backlog of electronically issued employment permits is beginning and we will post out the permit(s) relevant to you in the coming months.

Full details on the Contingency Arrangements: Employment Permits Contingency Arrangements

Finally, a dedicated mailbox has been set up to deal specifically with queries in relation to the printing of the backlog of the permits. The email address for the new mailbox is EPPrintingqueries@enterprise.gov.ie. Please allow 3-5 working days for a response if emailing a query to this address.

Submitting documents to Employment Permits Section

3 December 2020

In line with public health advice, all staff are working remotely, and we currently have no physical presence in our office. Applicant are asked not to send any applications or documents by post as we are unable to receive and process these.

Please be advised that the Employment Permits Section are accepting all correspondents electronically.

The relevant mailbox to send documents are as follows:

Trusted Partner applications (New/Renewal) - trustedpartner@enterprise.gov.ie

EFT Mandate Forms - EPMS@enterprise.gov.ie

Stamp 4 (Applications Only) - EPStamp4@enterprise.gov.ie

Review of Decisions (Applications Only) - EPReviews@enterprise.gov.ie

Surrender of Permits/ Notification of Redundancy/ Cancellation of Permits - EPMS@enterprise.gov.ie

Further information can be found in our COVID-19 Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements.

COVID-19 Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements

3 December 2020

The Department's contingency plan sets out to ensure that the Employment Permits system will continue to operate in all scenarios for the duration of the crisis:

COVID-19 Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements

The main points of the Contingency plan are:

  • Electronic (PDF) copy of permit will issue by e-mail;
  • Employment Permits Section will facilitate the changing of start dates to applications that have been received but yet to be processed;
  • 100% refund if applications are withdrawn, before they are processed, if withdrawal is as a result of the crisis
  • Applications for Stamp 4 Letters of Support can be submitted electronically; and
  • Applications to review a decision of an employment permit can be submitted electronically.

Update on Quota for Dairy Farm Assistants

13 November 2020

The Employment Permits (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019, Statutory Instrument No. 333 of 2019, set a maximum quota of 101 General Employment Permits for Dairy Farm Assistants.

This quota has now been filled. Applications remaining in the processing queue will be rejected. Please do not submit new applications for Dairy Farm Assistants at this time.

Update on Quota for Horticultural Workers

13 November 2020

The Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2018, Statutory Instrument No. 163 of 2018, set a maximum quota of 500 General Employment Permits for Horticulture Workers.

This quota has now been filled. Applications remaining in the processing queue will be rejected. Please do not submit new applications for Horticulture Workers at this time.

Update on Quota for Meat Processing Operatives

25 August 2020

The Employment Permits (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018, Statutory Instrument No. 163 of 2018, set a maximum quota of 1,500 General Employment Permits for Meat Processing Operatives.

This quota has now been filled. As such, no further permits are being issued at this moment.

Update on Quota for Horticulture Workers, Dairy Farm Assistants, Meat Processing Operatives and Deboners

2 July 2020

Horticulture Workers

The Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2018, Statutory Instrument No. 163 of 2018, set a maximum quota of 500 General Employment Permits for Horticulture Workers.

This quota has now been filled. Applications remaining in the processing queue will be rejected. Please do not submit new applications for Horticulture Workers at this time.

Dairy Farm Assistants

The Employment Permits (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019, Statutory Instrument No.333 of 2019, set a maximum quota of 101 General Employment Permits for Dairy Farm Assistants

This quota has almost been filled. When the quota has been filled applications remaining in the processing queue will be rejected. Please do not submit new applications for Dairy Farm Assistants at this time.

Meat Processing Operatives

The Employment Permits (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018, Statutory Instrument No. 163 of 2018, set a maximum quota of 1,500 General Employment Permits for Meat Processing Operatives, quota increased by 1,000 on 1/1/20

This quota has almost been filled. When the quota has been filled applications remaining in the processing queue will be rejected. Please do not submit new applications for Meat Processing Operatives at this time. 

Deboners

The Employment Permits Regulations 2017, Statutory Instrument No. 333 of 2019, set a maximum quota of 300 General Employment Permits for Meat Deboners.

There are a limited number of Employment Permits available before the quota is filled. When the quota has been filled applications remaining in the processing queue will be rejected.

New procedures for applications to seek a Review of an Employment Permit Decision and Stamp 4 Letters of Support

31 March 2020

Effective immediately, Employment Permits will be accepting applications to seek a review of an employment permit decision and applications for a Stamp 4 letter of support electronically.

Review of Employment Permit Decisions

New electronic procedures for applications for reviews of employment permit decisions have been put in place. Applications for reviews should now be submitted by filling out the required form and e-mailing it to EPReviews@enterprise.gov.ie.

Decisions will be communicated to applicants by way of e-mail correspondence.

The application form to request a review can be found here: Submission of a decision for review under section 13 or 17 of the Employment Permits Act 2006 (as amended)

Stamp 4 Letters of Support

Applications for Stamp 4 letters of support should now be submitted by filling out the required form and e-mailing it to EPStamp4@enterprise.gov.ie.

Any decision on an application, including the grant letter, will be communicated to the applicant by way of e-mail. Applications that have been made by post in the last few days, can be resubmitted through the online process.

The application form to request a Stamp 4 letter of support can be found here: Request for Support Letter for Green Card/Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders seeking a “Stamp 4”

Changes to Employment Permits Critical Skills and Ineligible Lists of Occupations and other technical amendments

1 January 2020

The Employment Permits (Amendment) (NO. 3) Regulations 2019, Statutory Instrument No. 633 of 2019, introduced the following changes as of January 1st, 2020:

Levels of Remuneration for Critical Skills Employment Permits

In order to reach the eligibility criteria to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit, the position on offer must be listed on the Critical Skills Occupations List and the foreign national must have at least a relevant 3rd level degree qualification where the minimum annual remuneration is between €32,000 and €63,999.

Where the position is not listed on the Critical Skills Occupations List or on the Ineligible List of Occupations or where the position is listed on the Critical Skills Occupations List and the foreign national does not have a relevant 3rd Level Degree qualification, the minimum annual remuneration required to be eligible for a Critical Skills Employment is at least €64,000.

Further information on Critical Skill Employment Permits

Revised Critical Skills and Ineligible Occupations

Inclusions to the Critical Skills Occupations List – Following a comprehensive consultation process, a revised Critical Skills Occupations List was published. The following occupations have been included to the list:

  • Site Manager
  • Structural / Site Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineers (without specialist skills)
  • Electrical Engineers (without specialist skills)
  • Setting Out Engineer
  • Façade Designer
  • Architect
  • Architectural Technologists

The Critical Skills Occupations List can be found here: Critical Skills Occupations List

Ineligible Occupations – As part of the consultation process, a revised list of ineligible roles was published. The following occupations were removed from the Ineligible List:

  • Commis Chef (with two years’ experience)
  • Construction Safety Manager
  • Civil and Structural Engineering Technicians
  • Architectural Technician
  • Draughtspersons
  • Construction Safety Officers
  • Foreman

This Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits can be found here: Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits

Labour Market Needs Test

Any employment permit application where a Labour Market Needs Test is required MUST have published a EURES ad for at least 28 days BEFORE a valid application can be submitted.  Further information on the Labour Market Needs Test is available at the following link: Labour Market Needs Test

Sector Specific Changes

Health – Nurses registered with the NMBI and who have achieved a Diploma level qualification can now apply for a Critical Skill Employment Permit.

Catering – The quota of Employment Permits applying to all roles of eligible Chef grades is now removed and the limit on the number of Employment Permits that may be in force in one establishment for all roles of eligible Chef grades has also been removed.

Transport – Quota on the number of Employment Permits issued to the role of Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers has been increased by 200.

Food Manufacturing – Quota on the number of Employment Permits issued to the role of Meat processing Operative has been increased by 1000.

Update on Quota for Chefs

19 November 2019

The Employment Permits (Amendment) Regulations 2018 Statutory Instrument No. 70 of 2018, amending the Employment Permits Regulations 2017, commenced on 26 March 2018.

This amendment removed certain chef grades from the Ineligible Categories of Employment List, subject to a quota of 610 employment permits.

Please note that this quota is now exhausted, and new employment permits for Chefs can no longer issued.

This will not affect the renewal of existing employment permits for Chefs.

Changes to Employment Permits Critical Skills and Ineligible Lists of Occupations and other technical amendments

3 April 2019

From 22 April 2019, new employment permits regulations will come into existence. The regulations include changes to the Critical Skills and Ineligible Lists of Occupations (formerly the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List and Ineligible Categories of Employment List), as well as other technical amendments.

Changes to the Critical Skills Occupations List

The following occupations will be added to the Critical Skills Occupations List and will be eligible for a Critical Skills Employment Permit from 22 April 2019:

  • Civil Engineers
  • Quantity Surveyors
  • Construction Project Managers
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineers with BIM expertise
  • High Performance Directors and Coaches for high-level sports organisations (where employment as a High-Performance Director or Coach is in a national or high-profile sports organisations engaging in international competition).

A checklist document to assist with the application process has been prepared and can be found here: Critical Skills Employment Permit Checklist

Further information on Critical Skills Employment Permits can be found on our website at: Critical Skills Employment Permits

Click here to make an online application

When making the application, please refer to our User Guide which can assist you step-by-step through the process: EPOS User Guide (PDF document)

Changes to the Ineligible Lists of Occupations

The following occupations will be removed from the Ineligible Occupations List and will be eligible for a General Employment Permit:

  • Sheet metal workers
  • Welding trades
  • Pipefitters
  • Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Engineers
  • Shuttering Carpenters
  • Glaziers, window fabricators & fitters
  • Scaffolders, stagers & riggers
  • Crane drivers
  • Transport and Distribution Clerks and Assistants (Freight Forwarders; Cargo & Freight Agents; Brokerage Clerks) subject to a quota of 300
  • Plasterers subject to a quota of 250
  • Bricklayers subject to a quota of 250

As an employment permit for each of these occupations is subject to a Labour Market Needs Test being carried out (see below for more information) the earliest date that a valid application can be received is 6 May 2019.

All normal criteria for General Employment Permit applications will apply.

Further information on General Employment Permits can be found on our website at: General Employment Permits

A Labour Market Needs Test must be carried out prior to application. Further information on the requirements can be found on our website at: Labour Market Needs Test

A checklist document to assist with the application process has been prepared and can be found here: General Employment Permit Checklist

Click here to make an online application

When making the application, please refer to our User Guide which can assist you step-by-step through the process: EPOS User Guide

To make a manual application please send an e-mail to EPforms@enterprise.gov.ie requesting an application form.

Other technical amendments

Changes to provide for the new Revenue Commissioners PAYE Modernisation Initiative:

Revenue documentation that will now be required:

  • P30 or receipt for such return or a statement issued by Revenue Commissioners showing the monthly statutory return made by the employer dated within the 3-month period preceding the application.
  • P60/Employment Detail Summary or a copy of or electronic access to an end of year income statement compiled by the Revenue Commissioners; demonstrating the foreign national employment history where applicable, and where necessary for each year that he or she has been employment pursuant to the employment permit or if not available a P21 issued in respect of the permit holder.
  • The P45 issued or evidence of the employment record held by the Revenue Commissioners indicating the end date of the employment following the foreign national’s redundancy.

Changes to the criteria for Chef employment permits

A change to criteria applying to the current chef quota will enable employers to replace permit holder employees who leave their employment prior to the expiry of the permit. This has now been changed to no more than two General Employment Permits for Chefs may be in force at the same time in respect of employment in a particular establishment, rather than to permits granted.

A second change is to recognise the total years’ experience gained by an applicant in any grade of chef rather than limiting their experience in one specific chef grade.

Change to Eligibility of Career Guidance Teachers

Secondary schools will be able to access career guidance teachers through the employment permits system, in the same way as other secondary teachers.

Ministers Humphreys and Flanagan announce change to immigration arrangements for spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders and Researchers under a Hosting Agreement

6 March 2019

Change to give immediate and full access to the Irish Labour Market without the need for an employment permit

Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and Charlie Flanagan TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, today (Wednesday, 6th March 2019) announced that the spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders and Researchers under a Hosting Agreement as provided for under the EU Third Country Researchers Directive (Council Directive 2005/71/EC) will be able to access the Irish labour market without the need to obtain an employment permit. This change will streamline existing processes and result in a more attractive offering for both investors and international talent.

Revised Immigration Arrangements for the Spouses and De-Facto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) Holders and Researchers Under a Hosting Agreement

The requirement for spouses and de-facto partners to obtain an employment permit has now been removed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) will grant eligible spouses and de-facto partners of CSEP holders and Researchers under a Hosting Agreement permission to reside in this State on Stamp 1 Conditions which provides direct access to the labour market without the need to obtain an employment permit.

For more information, please go to INIS Website where further information can be found on INIS FAQs (PDF).