Change in migration policy needed to meet skills shortages, briefing told

12 Sep 2008

Despite a significant number of employment permits issued in Ireland each year, there is a substantial skills shortage in areas such as information technology, financial services and healthcare, according to Ernst & Young.

The number of employment permits issued by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for the first eight months of 2008 is 10,095. This compares with 47,960 in 2003 and 23,513 in 2007.

Speaking at Ernst & Young’s Irish Employment Permit and Immigration briefing, Jim Ryan, partner, Human Capital Practice said the severe shortages in certain sectors can only be addressed in the short term by adapting the country’s migration policy to tap into other countries’ skills pools.

“As part of the Government’s drive to create a knowledge-based economy, the economic migration policy needs to continue to responsive and flexible to meet the demands of the economy and the particular requirements of each sector.”

In solving the problem, many lessons can be learned from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which are highly innovative and responsive in their migration policies to mitigate the impact of skill shortages and aging populations, the briefing heard.

By Sorcha Corcoran