A Technology Visa for Ireland could generate 100,000 new jobs (video)

20 Aug 2012

Pictured: RTE Dragon Sean O'Sullivan at the Digital Ireland Forum in March

A thought-provoking video just been put live by tech investor and RTE Dragon Sean O’Sullivan’s Open Ireland initiative, which suggests that for zero cost the rollout of a Technology Visa to bring technology workers to Ireland would generate up to 100,000 new jobs in the local economy.

The video contains a number of interesting points at the heart of which introducing a technology visa would enable talented and skilled workers from around the world to come to work and live in Ireland.

The video makes the following key points:

·      If we issue 5,000 visas we can create 20,000 jobs

·      If we issue 15,000 visas we can create 60,000 jobs

·      If we issue 25,000 visas we can create 100,000 jobs

It also points outs that if Ireland focuses on becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe, the resulting tax benefits that can be accrued through filling current job vacancies include generating more jobs in the local economy not to mention seeing shops reopened and filling empty housing estates. The multi-billion dollar Silicon Valley in the US is built upon its open approach to welcoming engineers, scientists and other technical talent from around the world.


The cost of implementing a Technology Visa strategy? Zero

At the recent Digital Ireland Forum in March Sean O’Sullivan presented a radical vision of how Ireland could double its population and bring in about 75,000 skilled emigrants on an annual basis who in turn could each generate six additional jobs in the local economy.

He followed this up with the Open Ireland initiative in April, a grassroots advocacy campaign aimed at allowing the world’s best tech talent to locate in Ireland in a more fluid way.

At present there are 5,000 tech job vacancies in the ICT sector alone. Since January the IDA has announced at least 4,000 additional jobs in technology companies.

O’Sullivan, who hails from upper-State New York, is a renowned tech investor who is recognised as co-creator of the term “cloud computing”. He is co-founder and managing director of Avego, a 55-person technology firm with offices in the US, Ireland and China. He is the latest high-profile addition to the TV programme Dragons’ Den.

O’Sullivan is also managing director of SOSventures International, which boasted returns averaging 27pc over the past 15 years, and is a founder of JumpStart International and Chinaccelerator. His first company, MapInfo, grew to a US$200m public company, and popularised street mapping on computers. Among his successful investments to date are Netflix, which just announced 1m users in Ireland and the UK in just several months, and Harmonix, which created Guitar Hero.

Below: parts 1 and 2 of Sean O’Sullivan’s speech at the March 2012 Digital Ireland Forum:

At the last Digital Ireland Forum in March Sean O’Sullivan says Ireland needs to open its economy to talent and China 

Ireland’s digital leaders will be joined by international speakers to discuss Ireland’s opportunities and challenges in the age of the connected consumer, at a forum hosted by Silicon Republic on 21 September in Dublin. Digital communications expert Neville Hobson has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers on 21 September.

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO, Vodafone Ireland
  • Tanya Duncan, CEO, Interxion Ireland
  • Muirne Laffan, managing director, RTÉ Digital
  • Maurice Mortell, MD Ireland, TeleCity Group
  • Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland
  • Andrew Maybin, network services director, Tibus

Click here for full details and for keynote and speaker updates.

Highlights from the last Digital Ireland Forum in March can be viewed here.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years