Modernisation of the Employment Permit System

October 25, 2022

On 12 October 2022, Minister Damien English announced the introduction of the Employment Permits Bill 2022, which aims to modernise the Employment Permits System in Ireland. These changes will help streamline the current system and will allow Ireland to be more competitive in the global labour market and to fill labour market gaps. These measures are expected to be introduced before the end of the year.

The main provisions of the Bill include:

  • The introduction of a seasonal employment permit that will cater to short-term and recurrent employment situations in certain sectors.
  • Extensive revision of the labour market needs test to make it more relevant and efficient.
  • Streamlining the number of requirements to simplify the process.
  • Providing additional training and accommodation support for migrant workers in certain circumstances, or making innovation or upskilling a condition of grant, where this may decrease future reliance on economic migration.

The Bill will also introduce the flexibility to amend the periods for which an employment permit can be granted, consequently reducing the number of applications being submitted and mitigating against the processing days recently experienced. In addition, the labour market needs test process (i.e., the requirement to advertise a role for four weeks) will be simplified, in recognition of modern advertising practices. The Bill will introduce the option of new conditionalities in the granting of an employment permit, in the intent to increase apprenticeship and training opportunities for the domestic and EEA workforce to further protect the EEA labour market and help employers to reduce their reliance on employment permits. There will be provisions included in the Bill which will enable subcontractors registered in Ireland access to the employment permit system, which acknowledges the modern labour market practices and value chains.

The lack of flexibility in the current Employment Permits System has created significant challenges for employers seeking to hire non-EEA national employees to work in Ireland in recent years. The changes set out in this Bill are a welcome improvement in a labour market which is continuously affected by staff and talent shortages across all sectors.  This Bill will allow for a more modern and agile Employment Permits System without compromising the Irish and EEA labour market pool.

For more information on the Employment Permits Bill, please see here.

You can contact our HR Executive Fiona Mulligan on or ring 01 6051557 if you have any questions on the above. The SFA will continue to keep members updated on the introduction of this Bill as it progresses over the coming weeks.