IRELAND: Changes to Critical Skills and Ineligible Occupation Lists

November 1, 2021

As part of continuing government efforts to address national skill and labor shortages, the Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) announced changes to the occupation lists for non-EU/EEA/Swiss/UK nationals seeking to work in Ireland.

These changes came into effect on 28 October 2021.

The Occupation Lists

One of the foundations of Ireland’s employment permit system is the categorization of occupations into different lists that designate highly skilled and ineligible occupations. These lists are reviewed on a bi-annual basis and adjusted to meet national labor and economic needs. The two primary lists are:

  • Critical Skills Occupations List – covers highly skilled professional roles that are in high demand and not readily available in Ireland’s resident labor force. Occupations on this list are eligible for a Critical Skills Employment Permit (CESP).
  • Ineligible Occupations – covers professions where there is a sufficient resident labor force to meet demands for these roles. Employment Permits are not granted for occupations on this list.

What’s Changed?

The following changes were made to Ireland’s occupation lists:

Agri-Food and Agriculture Sectors

Additional permit quotas have been introduced for the agri-food and agriculture sectors for horticulture operatives, meat deboners, meat processing operatives, dairy farm operatives, and equine work riders.

Construction Sector

Eight additional roles have been removed from the Ineligible Occupations list and will now be available for General Employment Permit applicants:

  • Electricians
  • Masons
  • Roofers, Roof Tilers and Slaters
  • Plumbers and Heating and Ventilating Engineers
  • Carpenters and Joiners
  • Floorers and Wall Tilers
  • Painters and Decorators
  • Construction and Building Trades Supervisors

The above change results in most construction sector jobs now being eligible for a General Employment Permit.

Healthcare Sector

The most notable change for this sector is the addition of qualified Social Workers to the Critical Skills Occupation List. Other changes for this sector include Dispensing Opticians now being eligible for a General Employment Permit.

Hospitality Sector

Hospitality Managers are now eligible to obtain a General Employment Permit with 350 quota spots. This quota will be subject to a framework requiring a recognized third-level qualification and at least five years of experience in the role.

Transport, Logistics, and Supply Chain Sector

In response to continued stress on the supply chain within Ireland, non-EU/EEA/Swiss/UK Heavy Good Vehicle drivers will be exempt from the HGV employment permit quota.

Newland Chase Insights

The recent changes to the Ineligible Occupation and Critical Skills Occupation lists, alongside the additional quota spots added in several industries, will allow more eligible applicants to obtain both General Employment Permits and Critical Skills Employment Permits. It is important to note that applicants in these occupations must meet all other eligibility criteria to be granted either a General Employment Permit or a Critical Skills Employment Permit.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Case for any case- or company-specific assessments.