Irish work permit and visa requirements for non-EU nationals should be easier says senator

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Dublin senator, Neale Richmond, has urged Ireland’s government to relax the Irish work permit laws for non-EU nationals. Richmond, a senator for Fine Gael - a liberal-conservative and Christian democratic political party – wants to see the list of occupations for which foreign workers might be eligible, expanded.

Sanwar Ali comment:

If you compare the Irish Employment Permit and Visa scheme to the UK Tier 2 visa scheme it is much easier. The UK Tier 2 visa scheme is a very expensive and complicated visa system. If the Irish visa system is made easier then it will be made even more attractive to non-EU nationals than it is now. Irish Visas should be considered as a good alternative for many would be migrants to the UK.

In a letter to Tánaiste and Minister for Business and Enterprise, Frances Fitzgerald, Mr Richmond explained that only highly skilled professionals, those in health services or technology, pharmaceutical companies or international finance, are eligible to apply for an Irish work permit outside of the EU.

The current list includes professions such as engineers working in chip design or process automation, IT specialists, web designers, medical practitioners, nurses, midwives and international marketing experts.

Excluded categories are generally within most of Ireland’s other industry sectors. Hospitality workers, physiotherapists, social workers, opticians, farmers, secretaries, welders, mechanics, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers and plasterers are absent from the shortage occupation list in Ireland.

Worker shortage

Mr Richmond argues that many of the professions excluded from the list are in high demand due to severe staff shortages. He implied that Ireland’s current shortage occupation list is overly restrictive, while regions across Ireland experience a chronic lack of workers.

An excerpt from the Dublin senator’s letter read: “The current lists are understandably focused on highly skilled, high-wage, occupations that need to be filled, but it’s clear that there are many other, perhaps lower-wage, occupations that need to be added to this list in order to allow businesses to continue to provide high levels of service at competitive rates.”

Mr Richmond went on to identify the ‘obvious gap’ in the workplace across the hospitality sector. He argues that employers are finding it notoriously difficult to recruit trained chefs and experienced waiting staff. Meanwhile, Richmond claims that construction staff, nursing personnel, farm workers and cleaning staff, are in short supply throughout Ireland.

The Fine Gael senator also made reference to a distinct lack of book-keepers in Ireland. Meanwhile, Ireland’s immigration department is understood to be reviewing its shortage occupation lists and the job roles for which non-EU workers can apply.

New Irish work visa application process for nurses recently reported that a new Irish work visa application process was being put in place for non-EU/EEA nurses. In accordance with the new rules, non-EU/EEA nurses seeking to work in Ireland must file an application via the Atypical Work Scheme.

The scheme enables work visa applicants to work in a position that is not covered by other employment rules, including industry sectors with a skills shortage.

Interest in Irish visas increasing is receiving increasing interest in Ireland as an immigration option. If you have a contract or employment in Ireland, this may be worth considering. For many, it is difficult to gain entry or leave to remain in the UK.

In the UK, fewer people now qualify for indefinite leave to remain. The UK Government is likely to take even more steps in future to restrict Tier 2 visas. The Tier 2 allowed skilled workers to work for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence holding UK employer, and eventually gain UK legal permanent residence.

It is one of the few options left for work-based entry to the UK. can help with the Atypical Working Scheme, the Irish General Employment Permit, Critical Skills Employment Permit, UK Tier 2 Visa, and UK Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence.

If you are a highly skilled worker with good qualifications and experience then we may be able to come up with an immigration route for Ireland. For more information on immigration to Ireland, call the London office on 0344 991 9222.