New figures show that there has already been a 20pc increase year-on-year in the number of work permits being granted to employers to enable them to bring non-EU citizens to work in Ireland.
According to VisaFirst, in the first four months of 2016 there were 2,160 work permits granted to employers to enable them to bring employees to Ireland.
This is up 20pc on the same period of 2015.
‘The uptake in Irish work permits is actually an indication of a growing economy’
– EDWINA SHANAHAN, VISAFIRST
The top five organisations that have applied to bring non-EU citizens to work in Ireland are: the HSE (479), Google (125), Intel (103), Infosys (94) and Accenture (66).
The countries that topped the list of applications were: India, Pakistan, the US, Brazil and Israel. According to VisaFirst, Indian citizens accounted for four times the number of applications as US citizens this year to date.
2016 is on track to be a record year for work permits due to improvements in the economy and business sentiment, according to VisaFirst.
Its report indicates that, in 2015, a total of 7,353 permits were issued for the year in total.
But, for 2016, this figure is likely to surpass 9,000.
“While certain companies need to bring staff from other countries to address certain skills shortages in particular areas, this is not necessarily a bad reflection on Ireland,” said Edwina Shanahan, manager of VisaFirst.
“The uptake in Irish work permits is actually an indication of a growing economy.
“Companies are expanding and while Ireland boasts a great workforce of people with qualifications, talent and experience in many areas, like most countries, there are areas in which we are deficient in terms of specialist expertise – and while traditionally this has been mostly in IT and language-oriented positions, we are also seeing other sectors trying to bridge the skills gap with overseas workers.
“From speaking with clients in the construction sector, it seems that a direct result of the recession has been that Ireland now has very few new graduates in the areas of quantity surveying, engineering, etc, which is why we are seeing a new wave of Irish permits being issued to companies in this sector.
“The financial services industry is also experiencing some skills shortages.”
Shanahan said that the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has worked to streamline its visa processing procedures to ensure companies that need to source overseas employees with particular skills can do so.
“Obviously, we want to attract business to Ireland and to keep the companies that are already located here, so it’s important that we are seen to be relatively accommodating in this regard,” Shanahan said.
Work permit approval image via Shutterstock