Minister for Jobs updates Employment Permit Regulations

Employment Permit Regulations now consolidated into a single set of Regulations for ease of use

30th March

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., has signed the Employment Permit Regulations 2017. Employment Permit Regulations are also now consolidated into a single set of regulations which makes them easier to understand and easier to use.

The Irish employment permits system is intended to act as a conduit for key skills which are required to develop enterprise in the State for the benefit of our economy, while simultaneously protecting the balance of the labour market.  The system is by design, affected by the economy, expanding and contracting in tandem with its inherent fluctuations.  

Lists of employments which identify critical skills in high demand in the economy, and skills for which there is ample capacity already in the resident labour market, are reviewed twice yearly using an evidence based process.

Following a review of the lists earlier this year, and which included a public consultation, the following changes have been approved by the Minister and have been given legal effect in the 2017 Regulations which will come into effect on 3 April:

  •    HGV drivers are removed from the ineligible list on a temporary basis and subject to a maximum quota of 120 General Employment Permits;
  •    Meat deboners remain off the ineligible list subject to a further maximum quota of 160 General Employment Permits bringing the total to 360, as 200 permits were made available under the 2015 Amendment Regulations.
  •    Level 10 (PhD) academics in designated Universities and Institutes of Technologies are added to the highly skilled list in order to help fulfil their obligations to hire the best staff available within the resources available to them.  This change will provide for the recruitment of a very specific skill set while entry level academic appointments remain oriented to the Irish/EEA labour market.

The Minister stated “It is important that we monitor these regulations in order to keep up with the pace of our economy.  Our willingness to connect to the global marketplace, and that includes the global exchange of skills, has facilitated Ireland’s ongoing recovery from recession.  Our economic migration policy accommodates and reflects the increasingly global nature of enterprises.  There are also  broad horizons on offer in Ireland to highly skilled individuals from all over the world.  Our migration policy allows  that preference should be given, wherever possible, to Irish and European Economic Area nationals in the awarding of contracts of employment.”  

The Minister continued “The arrival of non-EEA nationals to fill capacity gaps in the short to medium term is to be welcomed.  I also recognise that there will always be a cohort of knowledge leaders, or those with novel or combination skill sets, which it would be advantageous to attract to work in Irish based enterprises.

However, in the longer term, I expect to see the demand for HGV drivers and meat deboners being met from a steady supply in the Irish labour market.  An integrated approach is required to address these skills shortages and my Department has been working with the relevant Government Departments on developing such an approach.  It has already produced tangible results in the meat processing sector.”


For further information contact Press Office, D/Jobs Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or