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Stamp 4 for NCHDs in public hospitals

16 May 2023

Doctors who have completed 21 months employment on an employment permit in a public hospital are now eligible to apply for a Stamp 4 Letter of Support. This arrangement is similar to the arrangements in place for Critical Skills Employment Permits holders. Doctors can apply by completing the form available here: Request for Stamp 4 Support Letter. Applications must be accompanied by the documentation listed on the form.   

Redistribution of Meat Processing and Horticulture Employment Permits

9 February 2023

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has been advised by the Department of Justice that it has been made aware of serious concerns in relation to the practices of certain overseas agents, acting on behalf of visa applicants who are seeking general employment in the State. These concerns resulted in a large reduction in the visa approval rate for this cohort.

In addition, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is aware that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has directly impacted individuals issued with employment permits who have been unable to take up employment opportunities.

As a result, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has moved forward to commence the cancellation of these unused permits and has arranged for the redistribution of this limited number of unused employment permits in respect of Meat Processing Operatives and Horticultural Workers on a first come basis.

The department is providing notice that this redistribution will commence on 14 March at 9.00am when employment permit applications can be made in respect of these roles. It is important to note that as these roles are for a General Employment Permit a valid Labour Market Needs Test must be undertaken, which can be commenced now. The advertised salary for both roles in all advertisements must take into account changes to the National Minimum Wage which increased to €11.30 per hour or €22,916.40 per annum from 1 January 2023. All employment permit applications must show that the prospective employee's basic salary is the current NMW rate or higher in order for a permit to be issued.

Notice regarding 'Return and Refund' process

From 16 January 2023 all General Employment Permit applications will be initially screened across a small number of key mandatory criteria to ensure compliance with the requirements of this permit type, prior to it being accepted for formal processing.  Should the application fail to provide the required valid information it will be returned together with a full refund.

Important notice regarding home carers, bus and coach drivers, and dairy farm assistants

Measures to address skill shortages in agriculture, transport and home care sectors: Dairy farm assistants, bus and coach drivers, and home carers now eligible for employment permits 

Changes announced 16 December 2022

A quota of 1,000 General Employment Permits for the role of care workers and home carers has been introduced. This role is listed under code 6145 on the Standard Occupational Categorisation list. The permits will be issued for two years and require a minimum annual remuneration of €27,000 based on a 39-hour week, and a minimum full QQI Level 5 qualification in health and social care or equivalent or successfully completed a full QQI Level 5 qualification (or higher qualification) in health and social care within 2 years of permit issue. There will be a requirement for a 4-hour minimum continuous shift length.

The quota of General Employment Permits for the role of dairy farm assistant has been increased by 500. A minimum annual remuneration of €30,000, based on a 39-hour week, is required.

A quota of 1500 employment permits is being introduced for the role of bus and coach drivers. A minimum annual remuneration of €30,000 based on a 39-hour week is required, and drivers must hold driving licence categories D, DE, D1 and D1E or recognised equivalent.

Applications for home carers, bus and coach drivers, dairy farm assistants as well as all General Employment Permit applications

Please read in full before continuing:

An application for a General Employment Permit (GEP) can only be submitted when a valid Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT) has been undertaken. To satisfy a valid LMNT, an employer must advertise the vacancy with the Department of Social Protection Employment Services/EURES employment network for at least 28 consecutive days without any edits or amendments. The 28 day period can start from the announcement of the new regulations (16 December). Failure to correctly undertake the LMNT will result in the return of the application and the refund of the fee. Full information on the carrying out of the LMNT is provided on the Department’s website – Labour Market Needs Test. 

New refund process 

1 October 2022

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is continuously seeking to improve the way in which our operations are delivered for the benefit of users of the Employment Permits System. As part of this process, we have developed a new system to refund fees in respect of Employment Permit applications, which we will be launching in October 2022. This new system will allow electronic refunds to be made direct to the credit/debit card used to pay for the application, once the refund request is received within 170 days of the original payment. This will result in the refund of monies within days of the “Refund Request Form” being returned, as opposed to the multiple weeks this process takes at present, requiring mandate forms and Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) to nominated bank accounts. We appreciate your continued support as we roll out this exciting innovation.

It is important to note that any refund requests received more than 170 days after initial application payment is made will continue to be paid by EFT.

Update on quota for Meat Operatives and Dairy Farm Assistants

30 September 2022

The Employment Permits (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2021, Statutory Instrument SI No 559 of 2021, set a maximum quota of 100 General Employment Permits for Dairy Farm Assistants and 1,500 General Employment Permits for Meat Processing Operatives on 27 October 2021. An additional quota extension of 425 Meat Processing Operative permits was also established in June 2022. These quotas have now been filled. 

Please do not submit new applications for Dairy Farm Assistants and Meat Processing Operatives at this time.  Any applications for these roles will be returned.

New employment permit format

1 September 2022 

As of 1 September, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will commence issuing all employment permits in an electronic format with the addition of the signature of a senior official on behalf of the Minister, as well as a unique permit number. There will be no requirement to exchange current permits for this updated permit format and all existing permits issued will continue to remain valid.

Please Note: When renewing a current employment permit, you will still be required to fill in the employment permit number as all zeros on our online forms.


View earlier employment permits notices