Ireland: Green Light For Green Cards

Last Updated: 3 April 2008
Article by John Doyle

Most Read Contributor in Ireland, September 2019

Introduction

The financial services sector has over the past twenty years been one of the pillars of the Irish economy while it has enjoyed unprecedented growth. Since its inception the investment funds industry alone has funds under management with a net asset value in excess of one trillion Euro. Having experienced 35% growth in 2005 and in excess of 20% during 2006 the growth is set to continue during 2007. There are currently over 9,000 people employed in the investment funds industry in Ireland and this combined with increased employment levels in other financial services areas reaffirms the importance of the sector to the Irish economy.

One consequence of any growing industry is a subsequent increase in demand for appropriately skilled labour to meet the high levels of service demanded by clients. While recruitment of staff from other EU Member States has provided for some of the shortfall it is necessary to tap into the pool of potential candidates in non-EU countries to ensure the continued delivery of excellent service.

Industry representative bodies made submissions to the Department of+ Enterprise, Trade and Employment (the "Department") prior to the publication of the Green Card Permit Scheme announced by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (the "Minister") on 24th January, 2007. No doubt those bodies will be heartened to see their wish list of occupations faithfully reproduced in the published guidelines. These efforts should ensure that the continued growth and capacity of the financial services sector will not be jeopardised by an inability to recruit sufficient numbers of suitably qualified employees.

Details of the Green Card Permit Scheme and other recently announced initiatives are set out below.

Green Card Permits

The new Green Card Permit scheme allows a foreign national to be employed by a named employer in a specified occupation. The new arrangements will also allow employees to apply for immediate family reunification and will permit applications for permanent residency after two years. The usual "market needs" test will not be applied.

Where the annual salary (excluding bonuses) is €60,000 or more, the Green Card is available for all occupations. Where the annual salary ranges from €30,000 - €59,999 a Green Card is available for a restricted number of important occupations. There are a wide number of occupations relevant to the financial services sector included in this list of important occupations which cover many if not all of the occupations that might be currently vacant in the sector. These occupations include, inter alia, chartered and certified accountants, actuaries, underwriters, claims assessors, investment managers, fund accountants, fund administrators, custody specialists, transfer agents, hedge fund specialists, compliance specialists, tax specialists and common law jurisdiction lawyers with relevant financial expertise.

It will be necessary for the foreign national concerned to have the relevant qualifications, skills or experience and the applicant must have a job offer from a bona fide employer registered with the Companies Registration Office and the Revenue Commissioners.

Green Cards will only be issued in respect of job offers of two years duration. The fee for the initial application will be €1,000 and there will be a €1,500 renewal fee, after two years, when the Green Card may be renewed indefinitely.

Foreign nationals who are already working in Ireland on the basis of a work permit can apply for a Green Card Permit. Employees will be required to stay in their initial employment for a period of at least 12 months before they may be considered for permission to move to a different employer on the basis of a new application for a Green Card Permit.

Spouses and dependants of Green Card Permit holders are free to seek employment and apply for a spousal/dependent work permit provided they are legally resident in the Ireland. Where a foreign national is granted a Green Card Permit they must then get an entry visa from their local Irish Embassy/Consulate and on arrival in the country they should register with the National Garda Registration Office to obtain the necessary permission and correct immigration status to remain in Ireland.

Intra-Company Transfer Permits

The Intra-Company Transfer Permit allows for the transfer of key personnel who are foreign nationals from an overseas branch of a multi-national corporation to its Irish branch. The programme is limited to senior management, key personnel or those undergoing a training programme and earning a minimum salary of €40,000. In addition the employee must have been working for at least 12 months with the overseas company. The period allowed by the permit would be a maximum of 24 months but may be extended subsequently by up to a further 3 years. The employee is restricted to working for the named company and when the employment is terminated the employee must return to their country of origin. The Department has indicated that the number of intra-company transfers should not exceed 5% of the total Irish workforce although it does say that in exceptional circumstances (small firms/start up companies) a higher percentage may be permitted on a temporary basis.

Spouses/Dependants

This new scheme will allow spouses and dependant children under the age of 18 to apply for work permits without a market needs test. There will be no fee in respect of any such application. The applicant must be legally resident in the Ireland on the basis of being a dependant of the employment permit holder.

Graduate Scheme

The Graduate Scheme allows non EEA students who have acquired a primary, masters or doctorate degree from an Irish institution to apply to remain in Ireland for six months after the receipt of their exam results. During this period they may seek employment and if appropriate then apply for a Work Permit or Green Card Permit.

Work Permits

Individuals who do not qualify under any of the schemes referred to above may apply for an employment permit under the Employment Permits Act 2003 (the "2003 Act"), as amended by the Employment Permits Act 2006 (the "2006 Act") which essentially prohibits individuals who are not Irish citizens from entering the service of an employer in Ireland or being employed in Ireland without a valid employment permit. This requirement applies whether or not the employment results from the individual being employed in Ireland directly by an individual or being employed by a contractor located outside Ireland to work in Ireland under an agreement with the contractor and a third party.

The prohibition does not apply to certain defined categories of foreign nationals such as refugees or their families, persons entitled to be employed in Ireland by virtue of their citizenship of another EU State (other than Bulgaria or Romania) or who otherwise has permission from the Minister to be employed in Ireland.

The 2006 Act requires the Minister to give preference to applicants from EU States and applicants from Bulgaria or Romania and makes some further provisions regarding Bulgaria and Romania.

The application for the employment permit can now be made either by the prospective employer, a contractor, or by the foreign national themselves provided that they have a written offer of employment in Ireland. Regardless of who applies, if a permit is granted it is granted to the foreign national.

The applicant must provide a full and accurate description of the employment including the terms and conditions (the place of employment, remuneration and any agreed deductions in respect of board or accommodation as well as weekly hours and the duration of the employment). The application must describe the qualifications, skills or experience required for the job and must provide evidence of the foreign national's qualifications, skills or experience.

The original employment permit is granted to the foreign national and a copy is issued to the employer.

Where an application is made by anybody other than the foreign national themselves, a employment permit will not be granted unless the applicant satisfies the Department that they have taken all reasonable steps to offer the employment to an individual who does not require an employment permit and at the time of the application more than half of the applicant's employees are citizens of the EEA or the Swiss Confederation or a combination of both.

It is an offence for a person to employ a foreign national without a valid permit or forge an employment permit or alter it or use an employment permit with intention to deceive.

The 2006 Act also prohibits an employer from making any deductions from the remuneration of an employment permit holder concerning any charge, fee or expense arising out of or concerning the application for the work permit (or its renewal) or the recruitment of the holder or any amount previously paid to the holder in respect of travelling expenses incurred by him in connection with taking up the employment in Ireland. Where the foreign national made the application for the permit themselves, the person who made the offer of employment must not make any deductions in respect of those matters either.

Neither an employer nor somebody acting on their behalf may keep any personal document belonging to the holder of an employment permit and anyone who breaches this prohibition is guilty of an offence.

The 2003 Act prohibits penalisation of an employee with regard to any term or condition of employment where a person complains to the Gardaí or the Minister under the 2003 Act or gives evidence or gives notice of their intention to give evidence under the 2003 Act.

The 2006 Act provides for penalties ranging from €5,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment on summary conviction to €50,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years for convictions on indictment.

The 2006 Act provides that where an offence is committed by a company and where there is proof that the offence was committed with the consent or connivance of or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of a director, manager, secretary or other officer or person who was purporting to act in any such capacity then that person as well as the company is guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted.

In recent times, serious concerns had been expressed by the advertisement requirement which had to be complied with before a work permit could be applied for. This placed serious administrative obstacles in the path of employers and created considerable delays in the recruitment process. This frustrating roadblock has now been by-passed.

Conclusion

The changes introduced under the 2006 Act should provide a streamlined process far more suited to the needs of and to the mutual advantage of employers and employees. It is expected that these new provisions will enable the current vacancies in the financial services sector to be filled with appropriately skilled personnel.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions