‘Largest ever’ expansion of employment permits system

'Largest ever' expansion of employment permits system

Plans for the “largest ever” expansion of Ireland’s employment permits system have been set out.

From the start of 2024, 11 roles will be added to the critical skills occupations list and 32 roles made eligible for a general employment permit, while the salary requirement for most general employment permit holders will rise from €30,000 to €34,000.

The salary requirement for healthcare assistants and home carers will increase from €27,000 and the salary requirement for horticultural workers and meat processors will rise from €22,000, both to €30,000, bringing them in line with family reunification thresholds.

Other changes include an extension of existing quotas for dairy farm assistants, butcher/deboners, meat processors and horticultural workers, and the introduction of a labour market needs test (LMNT) for general employment permit applications which will have to reflect the revised thresholds in order to be deemed valid.

Neale Richmond, minister of state for business, employment and retail, said: “I am delighted to announce the largest ever expansion of our employment permits system, with 43 additional occupations becoming eligible for employment permits.

“From engineers, mechanics and electricians to meteorologists, butchers and bakers, these changes cross many sectors and will be of huge benefit to Irish businesses and society.”

He added: “The salary thresholds had not changed in some time and had not kept pace with inflation or economic growth.

“Economic migration has such an important impact on our economy and our society. Migrant workers bring much needed skills and experience to our workforce, and a cultural diversity that greatly benefits Irish society. To recognise this contribution and ensure we are offering good quality employment to these workers, the salary thresholds have been increased.”

However, he noted: “To balance the rights of the workers with the needs of businesses to prepare for the impact of these changes, the increased salaries will be introduced on a phased basis. This will give all sectors, particularly the agri-food and healthcare sectors, sufficient time to prepare.”

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