New Finance Bill will help tech firms bring in skilled overseas workers

8 Feb 2012

The war for skills in Ireland is likely to be eased by changes in the Finance Bill which lower the threshold on salaries for overseas workers from €100,000 to €75,000 in order to avail of tax breaks.

The decision could prove a boon for hard-pressed indigenous and multinational employers in Ireland competing for talented workers, such as software developers.

At present, there are as many as 5,000 job vacancies in the IT industry in Ireland.

The Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) was originally set at €100,000 a year and breaks were provided on the basis that the workers coming from overseas would hire other people to work on their teams.

However, according to Irish Internet Association (IIA) chief executive Joan Mulvihill, uptake tended to be low because the threshold of €100,000 was above the salaries some senior workers could be expected to be earning.

The IIA during the last summer issued a policy document recommending tax breaks to encourage overseas workers to come and work with indigenous and multinational companies.

“We hoped they would reduce the threshold to €55,000 but feel they met us halfway. There’s great logic in what they’ve done. They have struck the right balance because under the scheme anyone earning over €75,000 which would be the range of salaries for senior executives are entitled to a tax break.

“This also leaves room for graduates of conversion courses and members of the teams that can be brought here by the senior executives and who will typically be earning in excess of €55,000.”

Mulvihill said that local firms such as Paddy Power, Hostel World and SkillPages, who have to compete aggressively against well-known multinationals for experienced and talented software professionals, will find the new Finance Bill will help make life easier.

“This gives these firms an incentive to encourage senior, experienced technical people to come and work for them in Ireland.

“It is also good for multinationals if they have teams that they are trying to bring over because they can do so with better tax incentives than before,” Mulvihill said.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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