The Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation has announced important changes to the Employment Permit system which will help ease the current burden on employers in filling key labour shortages in certain areas. The construction industry, engineering and high-performance sports sector are the principal beneficiaries of the changes which take effect from the 22nd of April 2019.

Critical Skills Employment Permits

The following occupations have been added to the Highly Skilled Occupation list which will qualify them for Critical Skills Employment Permits:

  • Civil engineers
  • Quantity surveyors
  • Construction project managers
  • Mechanical and electrical engineers with BIM capabilities
  • High Performance Directors and Coaches for high-level sports organisations 

The benefits of holding a Critical Skills Employment Permit include immediate family reunification for eligible family members, and the prospect of obtaining a Stamp 4 permission to reside in the State after two years of employment and residency.

Ineligible Categories of Employment

The following jobs have been removed from the Ineligible List of Occupations:

  • Sheet metal workers
  • Welding trades
  • Pipefitters
  • Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Engineers       
  • Shuttering Carpenters
  • Glaziers, window fabricators & fitters
  • Scaffolders, stagers & riggers
  • Crane drivers
  • Career guidance teachers (secondary schools) 

Currently employment permits cannot be issued for these roles, even if an employer is unable to find an EU/EEA national to fill the position. The above changes have been welcomed greatly by employers and in particular the Construction Industry Federation who have seen its members struggle with filling positions to deliver housing and infrastructure and meeting the significant demand in this booming area for the past number of years.

Ineligible List of Occupations by Quota

The following jobs will remain on the ineligible occupation list however will be eligible for employment permits subject to the following quotas:

  • Transport and Distribution Clerks and Assistants (Freight Forwarders; Cargo & Freight Agents; Brokerage Clerks) subject to a quota of 300,
  • Plasterers subject to a quota of 250
  • Bricklayers subject to a quota of 250

The earliest date that a General Employment Permit application may be submitted in relation to any of the above listed roles is the 6th of May 2019. This is due to the ongoing requirement of employers to carry out the Labour Markets Needs Test which is necessary for all General Employment Permit applications excluding a number of limited exceptions.

A number of additional technical alterations are also being introduced under the new rules. These include changes to certain required supporting documentation issued by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in line with the PAYE Modernisation Initiative and amendments to the criteria for Chef Employment Permits.

Sinnott Solicitors greatly welcome the changes to the Employment Permit system and see them as an important move in maintaining Ireland’s continued economic growth and protecting the competitiveness of our growing economy.

The Immigration Department of Sinnott Solicitors has extensive experience in dealing with all categories of Employment Permit Applications and related immigration permissions. If you have any queries on the employment permit process or any matters raised in this article, do not hesitate to contact our immigration team today on 0035314062862 or