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Irish Employment Permit System Changes Effective From 17 January 2024

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Late last year, on 22 December 2023, the Irish Government announced an expansion of the nation's Employment Permit system while also raising the salary thresholds for most types of permits.


Why did the Government overhaul the Employment permit scheme?

This reform is intended to address labour shortages that many Irish Employers have faced in recent years and will broaden the pool of Employers who can utilize the country's employment permit and immigration system. These changes reflect the Irish government's efforts to ensure that the employment permits system remains responsive to the future economic climate and labour market conditions.


What types of work permit are allowed under Ireland's Employment Permits System?

There are 9 different types of employment permit administered by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The most common employment permits are the General Employment Permit and the Critical Skills Employment Permit:

1.Critical Skills Employment Permit

2.Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit

3.Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit

4.General Employment Permit

5.Contract for Services Employment Permit

6.Reactivation Employment Permit

7.Internship Employment Permit

8.Sport and Cultural Employment Permit

9.Exchange Agreement Employment Permit

The employment permits scheme is governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003–2014.


What are some of the changes that came into force on 17th of January 2024? 

Salary Changes

  1. General Employment Permit: The minimum salary requirement will increase from €30,000 to €34,000.

  2. Critical Skill with a Degree. The minimum salary requirement will increase from €32,000 to €38,000.

  3. Healthcare Assistants and Home Carers: The minimum salary will rise from €27,000 to €30,000.

  4. Meat Processors and Horticultural Workers: Their salary requirement will increase from €22,916 to €30,000.

  5. Butcher/Boner: Their salary requirement will increase from €27,500 to €34,000.

  6. Graduate Positions: Language Skills Specialist Their salary requirement will increase from €27,000 to €34,000.


Quota Changes
In addition to the salary requirement changes, there are also extensions of existing quotas for several occupations, which are now in effect:

  • Meat processing operatives will have a quota of 1,000 General Employment Permits.

  • Butchers/Deboners will have a quota of 350 General Employment Permits.

  • Dairy farm assistants will have a quota of 350 General Employment Permits.

  • Horticultural workers will have a quota of 1,000 General Employment Permits to support the sector until the introduction of the Seasonal Employment Permit.


Criteria Changes

  • 11 new occupations added to the Critical Skills Occupations List and Employers with vacancies for these roles should note the revised salary thresholds needed to obtain a Critical Skills Employment Permit.

  • The removal of 32 occupations from the Ineligible Occupations List, making a larger pool of occupations eligible for a General Employment Permit.


What are some of the future salary changes are expected concerning the Employment Permit scheme in January 2025?

The Government is proposing further salary threshold increases on a phased basis.

  1. General Employment Permit: The minimum salary requirement is estimated to increase to €39,000.

  2. Critical Skill with a Degree. The minimum salary requirement is estimated to increase to €44,000.

  3. Healthcare Assistants and Home Carers: The minimum salary requirement is estimated to increase to €34,000.

  4. Meat Processors and Horticultural Workers: Their minimum salary requirement is estimated to increase to €32,000.

  5. Butcher/Boner: The minimum salary requirement is estimated to increase to €39,000   

  6. Graduate Positions; Language Skills Specialist The minimum salary requirement is estimated to increase to €39,000.


How will this reform of the Employment permit scheme impact Employers?

This reform may require Employers to reassess and possibly adjust their budget forecasts to ensure that their Employment permit holders can maintain their work status in Ireland. Employers who engage non-EU/EEA/Swiss staff members should consider the potential cost and related implications for their 2024 and 2025 recruitment plans. While the reforms provide opportunities for Employers to address skill shortages, they also bring challenges related to increased Employment costs and the need for careful workforce planning and budget management.


What other Employment Law Updates are expected in the near future?

Work Life Balance And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2022: A Code of Practice on the Right to Request Flexible Working Arrangements for Caring Purposes and the Right to Request Remote Working are expected early this year. These new Employee rights are expected to come into force once the Code is published.

Employment (Collective Redundancies and Miscellaneous Provisions) And Companies (Amendment) Bill 2023: The Bill will further enhance the protection of Employees in a collective redundancy by enhancing transparency for Employees of Employers who become insolvent and expanding the avenues of redress available to all Employees.

Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings System Bill 2022: Employees who are not already in an occupational pension scheme aged between 23 and 60 and are earning over €20,000 per year will be automatically enrolled. Matching of Employer and Employee contributions will be included, and the State will contribute at a rate of €1 for every €3 saved by the Employee. The auto-enrolment scheme is scheduled for implementation at the latter end of 2024.

Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit: Budget 2024 announced that Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit will be extended from seven to nine weeks of leave from August 2024.

 

Here at Adare Human Resource Management, we are preparing businesses like yours to prepare for compliance with the latest Employment law updates. Keeping Company policies and procedures updated with the latest Employment legislation can be challenging. For information on the supports available through the Adare Human Resource Management Partnership Programme, please contact us at 01 561 3594 or email info@adarehrm.ie.

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