Single permit system to be introduced over next three years

Single permit system to be introduced over next three years

Helen McEntee

A single permit to both work and live in Ireland will be introduced over the next three years, the government has announced.

An inter-departmental working group established in December 2022 has concluded that it is feasible to begin implementation of the single permit and to ultimately opt-in to the EU Single Permit Directive.

Ireland and Denmark are the only two EU member states which do not already operate a single permit for employment and residence. The UK and US operate single application procedures and single permits.

Justice minister Helen McEntee said: “I am delighted to have secured approval to implement a single permit for both residence and employment permits to attract the vital skills our economy needs in sectors such as healthcare and construction.

“At the moment, you have to apply to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for a work permit, and then you have to go to the Department of Justice to apply for a visa.

“By introducing a single permission, we can reduce the cost and complexity for both employers and applicants of having to separately obtain employment and residence permits. This will ensure that we can respond effectively and quickly to meet the skills needs of the economy.”

Enterprise, trade and employment minister Peter Burke added: “Ireland’s ability to attract and retain skilled workers is increasingly important given the demographic challenges which face the whole of Europe with an ageing population and sustained full employment in Ireland.

“I believe joining the Single Permit Directive and enabling spouses or partners of workers to also contribute to the economy will be key in ensuring that we can bring much needed skills and experience to the labour market across all sectors of the economy.”

The government has also announced changes to enable spouses and partners of employment permit holders to work if they are already in the State and are granted permission to live in Ireland with their family member.

Mrs McEntee said: “Many spouses are skilled workers who have left significant jobs and roles to join their families here and wished to continue their careers in Ireland.

“Fundamentally, I saw this as a missed opportunity, which risked making Ireland less attractive for workers while limiting a person’s ability to contribute to the economy and provide for their family.

“These spouses and partners can now work immediately, and they will not be required to attend an immigration office to change their permission.”

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