Stephen Kirwan Partner and Head of Immigration and International Law Team in KOD Lyons provides a summary of the recent Advisory Note issued by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
As noted in our recent blog post  extensive changes to the employment permit system being announced by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment on 20th December 2023. These adjustments, aimed at fostering a more dynamic and inclusive workforce, has significant implications for both employers and employees alike. However, it was also noted that there was confusion in how the key changes to the Minimum Annual Remuneration thresholds effected ongoing fresh and renewal applications as well as extant permits. The Advisory Note brings some much welcome clarity to the area.
Position in Relation to Live and Ongoing Applications including Potential Renewals
The Advisory Note makes clear that all Employment Permit applications received prior to 17th January 2024 will be processed pursuant to the current renumeration thresholds. It also clarifies that current Employment Permits which are ’live’ will also not be impacted.
The clear implication is that anyone current seeking a General Employment Permit who has not yet advertised the position or who recent published an advertisement at the lower rate and is unable to fulfil the Labour Market Needs Test (by having the position advertised for 28 days with the Department of Social Protection and the European Employment Services prior to the application being uploaded) will be unable to avail of the current rate.
Similarly, it is clear that anyone who has a pending work permit renewal application should submit this application prior to the 17th January 2024 should endeavour to do so in advance of the deadline.
Date which Expanded List of Eligible Occupations Takes Effect
The Advisory Note also helpfully clarifies that the new expanded list of Eligible Occupations has become operative from 20th December 2023. This means that those roles added to the Critical Skills Occupations List can now be submitted at any point. If the applications are commenced before the 17th January 2023 they can be approved at the minimum rate of €32,000. Any applications submitted after this date will be subject to the new €34,000 rate.
As noted General Employment Applications continue to be subject to fulfilling the Labour Market Needs Test and are required to be advertised for 28 days through the Department of Social Protection and European Employment Services prior to an application being made. Thus if a General Employment application is submitted after the 17th January then the Labour Market Needs Test provided should advertise the role in question at the new higher minimum salary. If the role is advertised at €30,000 but the salary is to pay €34,000 the application will be deemed invalid.
Opening of New Quotas
As noted in the previous blogpost a number of quotas are being opened in respect of Meat Processing Operatives, Horticultural Workers and Meat Processing Operatives. The Advisory Note makes it clear that there are no quotas in place for these roles before 17th January and they will be the subject of the usual Labour Market Needs requirements. While these roles will be allocated on a first come first served basis, if any applications are submitted prior to this they will be rejected.
The Advisory Note has provided some much-needed guidance in respect of the operation of the employment permit occupation list and will hopefully provide some comfort to employers and employees about how the rules will operate going forward, particularly for those currently on employment permits issued under the old scheme.
Should you have any questions or queries do not hesitate to contact Stephen Kirwan of this office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 01-6790780.