Public consultation on the General Scheme of an Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation invites submissions on the General Scheme of an Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill, with a closing date of 17 January 2020.

  1. A Review of Economic Migration Policy undertaken in 2018 concluded that, while the employment permits system provides a robust framework to supplement skills and labour needs in the State, the current legislation imposes considerable inflexibility in its operation. In order to increase the agility and responsiveness of the system, to modernise it and to ensure that it is capable of adapting to rapid changes in the needs of the labour market of the future and to fluctuation in demand contingent on the economic cycle, the Review recommended that new legislation be initiated and the Government approved the linked General Scheme consolidating and amending previous employment Permits legislation. 

  2. This General Scheme incorporates both specific and general recommendations of the Review, while retaining the core focus of a vacancy led employment permits system oriented to meeting of the skills and labour needs in the State. The conclusions of the Review endorsed the robust fundamental structure of the existing system. The changes proposed are concerned with increasing its agility and effectiveness, while retaining the key policy focus of supporting the economy and the labour market through evidence-based decision making. The proposed Bill therefore does not represent a change in overall Government policy.

  3. In addition to consolidating the existing legislation to make a more accessible statutory basis for our economic migration system, specific changes in this General Scheme include:
  • the introduction of a seasonal employment permit,
  • extensive revision of the labour market needs test to make it more relevant and efficient,
  • the introduction of a scheme to deal with occasional exceptional circumstances where an employment permit may be granted despite not meeting all of the criteria for the General Employment Permit
  • a number of housekeeping changes – clarifications of particular provisions, moving of operational criteria to Regulations, and the streamlining of a number of requirements to make the grant process more efficient
  • providing for additional conditions for grant of an employment permit, such as training or accommodation support for migrant workers in some circumstances, or making innovation or upskilling a condition of grant, where this may decrease future reliance on economic migration.
  1. The 6-week process of public consultation on the Bill will commence today and a summary of the proposals, plus the General Scheme, are published on the Department’s website. Submissions are invited from stakeholders and interested parties and this process will inform the further development of the draft legislation. The Department encourages interested parties to submit their views on the Scheme of the proposed Bill. Following completion of the public consultation on 17th January 2020, detailed drafting of the Bill will commence and the Minister hopes to formally publish the legislation in early summer 2020. The Department will fully assess all responses to the present consultation before finalising the draft legislation for submission to Government. These responses will also be an important input into the regulatory impact analysis being prepared on the proposed Bill. 

  2. Responses to the consultation should be returned by e-mail with Consultation on General Scheme of an Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill in the subject line to, or by post to Economic Migration Policy Unit, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Earlsfort Centre, Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2 by close of business, Friday, 17 January 2020. Queries about the consultation can be addressed by email to

Responses to the consultation on the Scheme of the proposed Bill will be published on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation website. Any material contained in submissions to the consultation which respondents do not wish to be made public in this way should be clearly identified as confidential in the submission. Respondents should also be aware that submissions may be disclosed by the Department in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Acts 1997-2003. Any information that is regarded as commercially sensitive should be clearly identified and the reason for its sensitivity stated. In the event of a request under the Freedom of Information Acts, the Department will consult with respondents about information identified as commercially sensitive before making a decision on a freedom of information request.

Published by Workplace Regulation and Economic Migration

Topics: Employment Permits