Proposed law to ‘modernise’ employment permits system



The general scheme of a bill to “modernise” the employment permits system to make the system “more agile and easier to modify” has been published.

The Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill 2019 will take forward recommendations of a review of economic migration policy commissioned by Business Minister Heather Humphreys last year.

The review indicated that while the current employment permits vacancy-led system provides a robust basis for the management of economic migration, the current legislation imposes considerable inflexibilities on the operation of the system.

Among its recommendations, the review proposed that changes be made to the Employment Permit Acts to make the system more agile and easier to modify to meet changing economic circumstances and to keep pace with technological and process changes as they arise.

Ms Humphreys said: “The proposed legislation will increase the agility and responsiveness of Ireland’s economic migration system to meet skills and labour needs, while continuing to safeguard the labour market and support the employment rights of permit holders.

“I want to modernise the system and ensure that it is capable of adapting to changes in the future as well as fluctuations in demand across the economic cycle.”

The bill will consolidate existing legislation as ministers believe any further amendment to the existing Employment Permit Acts 2003-2014 would significantly increase the complexity of the current legislative framework.

Ms Humphreys said: “The consolidation of the existing legislation in this new Bill will enhance the statute’s accessibility and improve the transparency of our regulatory process.

“It will incorporate the recommendations of last year’s review while retaining the core focus of a vacancy led employment permits system focussed on meeting the skills and labour needs in the State.”

She added that she is also proposing to introduce a seasonal employment permit and a special circumstances employment permit, for instance to facilitate bilateral reciprocal agreements with other states.



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