The law surrounding employment permits in Ireland is set to change significantly.
The Irish government has published a bill, the Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill, 2014, in April 2014.
Currently the law surrounding employment permits in Ireland is governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006.
The Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill, 2014 has 4 parts.
The important parts are Part 2 which amends the Employment Permits Act 2003 to address the problems thrown up the “Younis” case.
This case, Hussein v The Labour Court  IEHC 364, involved the High Court finding that a favourable award by the Labour Court against Mr. Hussein, the employer, in favour of Younis could not be upheld because Younis’s contract of employment was unlawful because he did not have an employment permit.
The new bill, when passed into law, will provide a defence to a foreign national without an employment permit where (s)he too all reasonable steps to ensure compliance.
The Act will also deter employers from employing foreign nationals without an employment permit by allowing the worker to take a civil action against the employer, despite the illegality of the employment contract.
The Act will also allow the Minister to take a civil action on behalf of the foreign national.
Part 3 of the new Act will amend the Employment Permits Act 2006 to provide for different types of employment permits; strengthens the requirement for employers to employ EEA nationals before foreign nationals; provides greater flexibility for start-up companies.
The Act will also change the “50:50” rule concerning the requirement that employers looking to hire foreign nationals have at least 50% of their workforce from the EEA.
The LMNT (local market needs test) of the 2006 Act will also be changed.
Another important change will be the extra 6 months given to a foreign national to find alternative employment after being made redundant.
Part 4 of the Act will ensure that tax is charged on any payment awarded on foot of a Court order to have the PAYE tax system applied.
The above is only a brief outline of employment permits law in Ireland. Excellent resources for further information include
- The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation employment permits homepage
- The Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill, 2014
- Employment Permits Act 2003
- Employment Permits Act 2006
If you are concerned about any aspect of employment permits, consult a solicitor.