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Group aims to streamline work-permit system
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

16 Dec 2022 / employment Print

Government moves to streamline work permits

The Government has agreed to move towards a single application procedure for people seeking to move to the State to work.

Under the current system, those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who wish to work in Ireland must first make an application to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for a work permit.

They must then make a second application to the Department of Justice for an immigration permission.

Working group

The Government said that it had agreed, in principle, that a single application procedure for employment permits and immigration permissions should be developed.

An inter-departmental working group will now be set up to develop an implementation plan for consideration by the Government.

Earlier this year, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a directive on a single permit procedure for employment permits and immigration permissions for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of an EU member state.

Leo Varadkar (Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, pictured) said that the working group’s report would allow the Government to consider opting in to the directive at a future date.

‘User-friendly’ system

“All interactions between businesses and the State should be as streamlined and efficient as possible, so I fully support having a single customer-application system for permission to enter and work in the State, if that is possible,” he stated.

The Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said that the aim should be to develop a user-friendly system that made it easier for firms and prospective workers to use.

“We should also aim to reduce costs through increased digitalisation and centralisation,” she added.


Meanwhile, the Government has also made changes to the employment-permits system in order to address labour shortages in three areas.

The quota of employment permits for the role of dairy-farm assistance has been increased by 500.

A new quota of 1,500 is also being introduced for bus and coach drivers, while 1,000 permits are being made available for workers in the home-care sector.

The employment-permits system is designed to attract highly skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to Ireland, and to meet demand for labour that cannot be filled by the resident labour force.

Employers will be eligible to apply for the employment permits once they have run the required advertisements for 28 days after today (16 December). The current processing time for employment permits is between three and five business days.


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