On 15 April 2009, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment announced changes to the work permit and green card regimes of Ireland. From 1 June 2009, the Irish government will restrict eligiblity and impose tougher tests before work permits are granted or renewed. Also, various occupations with medium-level salaries have been declared uneligible for green cards. The new policy seeks "to allow the maximum opportunity for any available job vacancies to be filled from within the Irish labour market and wider EEA".
Specific restrictions on work permits include:
- Making more job categories ineligible for new work permits (work riders, domestic workers and HGV drivers now ineligible), and an ongoing assessment of other occupational categories regarding their continued eligibility
- No new permits for low-paid jobs i.e. paying under EUR30,000 per annum
- Strengthening the labour market needs test by doubling EURES/FAS advertisement of the job vacancy to 8 weeks, and national press advertisement to six days.
- Tougher conditions for the renewal of permits - higher fees and requirement for labour market needs test on renewal
- Spouses and dependants of future principal work permit holders having to apply for permits in their own right subject to the standard eligibility criteria and fees for Work Permits (currently spousal/dependant work permits are open to all job categories with no labour market needs test applied or fee charged)
The following occupations with a salary between EUR30,000 and EUR60,000 have been removed from the Green Card List:
- Healthcare: Registered midwives; physiotherapists; psychologists; social workers; medical physicists; and speech and language therapists.
- Financial Services: Economists; statisticians; underwriters; claims assessors and analysts; securities specialists; fund and investment management specialists; common law jurisdiction lawyers; investment fund professionals; fund accountants; fund valuations professionals; fund administrators; custody specialists; transfer agents; and hedge fund specialists.
- Industry/Services: Marketing Managers.
These occupations continue to be eligible for salaries of EUR60,000 or more.