INIS RELEASES 2018 ANNUAL REPORT: “IMMIGRATION IN IRELAND STATISTICS”

On the 26th September 2019, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice released its annual report for the year 2018 detailing immigration trends in Ireland through statistics.

In the report, INIS found that there was a total of 140,533 visa applications in 2018. The report further clarifies that in 2018, 121,220 persons received positive visa decisions from INIS in 2018 while 16,568 received a negative decision.

This annual release has once again highlighted the concerning increase in refusals of leave to land. INIS reports that 4797 persons were refused leave to land in the State meaning individuals were refused entry at the airport/border. This is an increase from the 3,746 persons refused entry into the state in 2017.

This is a very large number of persons refused leave to land with the top countries to have people rejected being:

  • Albania (622)
  • Brazil (524)
  • South Africa (359)
  • United States of America (232)

Leave to land is governed by Section 4 of the Immigration Act 2004 (as amended) which provides for limited and specific circumstances to which persons can be refused leave to land. Under Section 4(3), an immigration officer retains a right to refuse permission to a non-national where they are satisfied:

“(a) that the non-national is not in a position to support himself or herself and any accompanying dependents;

(b) that the non-national intends to take up employment in the State, but is not in possession of a valid employment permit

(c) that a non-national suffers from a condition set out in first schedule

(d) that the non-national has been convicted of an offence that may be punished under the law of the place of conviction by imprisonment for a period of one year or by a more severe penalty

(e) that a non-national, not being exempt, is not the holder of a valid Irish visa;

(f) that the non-national is the subject of- (i) a deportation order, (ii) an exclusion order or (iii) a determination by the minister that it is conducive to the public good that he or she remain outside the State;

(g) that the non-national is not in possession of a valid passport or other equivalent document, issued by or on behalf of an authority recognised by the Government, which establishes his or her identity and nationality;

(h) that the non-national- (i) intends to travel (whether immediately or not) to Great Britain or Northern Ireland and (ii) would not qualify for admission to Great Britain or Northern Ireland if he or she arrived there from a place other than the State;

(i) that the non-national, having arrived in the State in the course of employment as a seaman, has remained in the State without the leave of an immigration officer after the departure of the ship in which he or she so arrived;

(j) that the non-national’s entry into, or presence in, the State could pose a threat to national security or be contrary to public policy;

(k) that there is reason to believe that the non-national intends to enter the State for purposes other than those expressed by the non-national”.

There remain serious deficiencies in our immigration system with respect to fairness and the right to have legal representation as a person presenting at the Irish border requesting leave to land.

The absence of legal representation is especially concerning given the seriousness of the decision being made. Refusals of leave to land remains a serious incident in a person’s immigration history. It must be declared for all future visa applications and may be negatively considered in any future immigration matter. Needless to say, being refused leave to enter Ireland at the border can be extremely distressing and traumatising for individuals and in some cases has resulted in persons being detained in Irish prisons!

The increase in the number of persons refused leave to land may be unsurprising given that in 2017, INIS highlighted that enhancing border security was a priority stating that amendments to immigration over last number of years “will allow for arresting, detaining and removing non-nationals who are subject to a deportation order and people who are refused leave to land”, however it is no less alarming.

Although specific, the potentially very wide-ranging power of immigration officers must be exercised in a cautious and restricted manner. Unfortunately, it appears that leave to land refusals are continuing to increase.

As of the 31st December 2018, 142,924 individuals had permission to remain in the State with 2757 being under 18. The Residence Division of INIS received over 14,600 such applications in 2017.

In 2018 there were over 5200 EU Treaty Rights Applications made. The report shed light into trends relating to EU Treaty Rights Reviews stating that 1092 review applications were submitted in 2018 with 134 review cases being granted.

The report also addressed citizenship applications confirming that, similar to the 2017 figures, 8225 persons received Citizenship Certificates in 2018, with 1183 of those being minors.

Of the 984 Family Reunification applications received in 2018, 527 were Syrian nationals. However, only 211 applications were determined favourably with just 133 minors at time of decision receiving positive decisions.

 

The 2018 Annual INIS Report can be read in full here.

 

IMPORTANT JUDGEMENT RELATING TO PERMITTED FAMILY MEMBERS IN EU TREATY RIGHTS APPLICATIONS: AF AND AF V THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

Berkeley Solicitors is happy to announce that our clients have obtained a successful decision from the High Court in relation to permitted family members in EU Treaty Rights applications pursuant to Directive 2004/38/EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015. Mr Justice Barrett delivered this important judgement on the 26th September 2019.

We believe that this judgment will have an extremely positive impact on permitted family members for such applications.

The case concerned two applicant brothers- ‘Brother A’, a British citizen resident in Ireland for employment purposes and ‘Brother B’, the dependent of Brother A and a Pakistani citizen living in Ireland as a student since 2014.

The High Court found that the Minister’s refusal of the application for an EU residence card for the dependent brother was unreasonable and to some extent irrational, and therefore quashed the Minister’s decision.

The court accepted the applicant’s arguments that Brother B’s country of previous residence is Ireland, contrary to the Minister’s argument that the country of previous residence was Pakistan.

Relying on Rahman, the court reaffirmed that the phrase “in the country from which the person has come” in relation to permitted family members, as appears in both the Directive and the 2015 Regulations, refers to the State he was resident in when he applied to join the Union citizen.

At paragraphs 7 and 8, the court states that:

Although visa applications are typically made outside Ireland, in this instance, Brother B had permission in his own right to reside in Ireland as a student on the date the application was made and therefore the Minister was mistaken in maintaining that Pakistan was the country Brother B came from.

The court further clarified that even in the case of (incorrectly) considering Pakistan as the country from which Brother B had come, Brother A’s actions with respect to housing and financing Brother A’s education in Ireland would remain relevant insofar he was consistently supporting by his brother to the point of dependency.

Mr Justice Barrett specifically addressed the nature of evidence provided in support of EU Treaty Rights Applications referring to the statements made by the applicants. He reaffirmed that when applicants make/sign the declaration for the completion of the EU1A form, certain weight is afforded to the evidence provided in and with the application.

Mr Justice Barrett took a fair and reasonable approach to the provision of documents maintaining that very few people can produce/receive or retain documentation with regards to every aspect of their lives, even in the case of the most important aspects of one’s life.

The Judge remarked that in reality there is a limit to what one applicant can produce in terms of documents.

Mr Justice Barrett went on to provide a summary of the concept for dependency confirming that it means:

15. “that members of the family of a community national… need the material support of that Community national… in order to meet their essential needs in the State of origin of those family members or the State from which they have come at the time when they apply to join the Community national”.

Referencing Kuhn and Ors, Mr Justice Barrett echoed that material support includes financial contribution but does not require that the entirety of the cost of essential needs be covered by person providing support.

This judgement advocates, in light of Article 3(2) of the Citizen’s Right Directive, for a relatively generous test as to what constitutes dependency.

A point that the court felt important to note, was that in a situation where material support is not provided directly to the dependent but to others, the dependent is not precluded from being described as such because dependent relationships can include both direct dependency and/or vicarious dependency.

Specifically addressing the issue of dependency in Pakistan, in paragraph 23, Mr Justice Barrett found the Minister’s assertion that the applicants had not provided evidence that without the small cash transfers, Brother B would not have been able to support himself in Pakistan was unreasonable.

Highlighting that Brother B was unemployed in Pakistan and therefore clearly dependent on someone for his income, the High Court was unable to see in this regard:

23(ii). “how Brother B could prove that if he was not in the position that he found himself to be in, he would still not have been able to support himself; how could he possible demonstrate that?”.

In conclusion, the court granted an order of certiorari which means that the Minister’s refusal of the application as a result of the court’s findings is withdrawn and that the application be reconsidered by the minister.

We believe that this judgement will have a positive effect for other applicants who are permitted family members and awaiting the outcome of their EU residence card applications.

The full judgement will be posted here shortly.

 

 

BRITISH CITIZENS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS IN IRELAND- THE RIGHT TO RESIDE IN THE EVENT OF A NO-DEAL BREXIT

As previously highlighted on Berkeley Solicitor’s Immigration Blog, the family members of British citizens resident in Ireland on the basis of EU FAM Residence Cards have received recent correspondence outlining “transitional arrangements” will be put in place in the event of a no- deal Brexit.

There is no clear outline in these letters as to what these transitional arrangements will be.

This has caused much anxiety to the holders of the EU FAM residence cards as highlighted by the Irish Times in their article of the 18th September 2019.

What is not mentioned is this article is that the further information and clarification outlined on The European Commission’s website which currently states as follows:

“Member States have prepared or adopted national contingency measures to ensure that UK nationals and their non-EU family members could remain legally resident in the immediate period after a no-deal withdrawal. To provide further clarity on the situation, the Commission, based on the information provided by the EU27 Member States, makes available an overview table and a Q&A on UK nationals’ residency rights in each of the EU27 Member States.  

Ireland

I am a UK national living in Ireland. In case of a no-deal scenario, what should I do to keep my residence rights after Brexit date? When should I do it?

All UK nationals have a right under the Common Travel Area to live in Ireland.

You do not need to take any action to continue to live in Ireland after Brexit date.

What will my rights be?   

Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), British citizens can move freely to, and reside in, Ireland and can enjoy associated rights and privileges including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the right to vote in certain elections.

The Government of Ireland and the UK Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 8 May 2019‌, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances.

More details can be found here

How can I travel to other Member States or cross the EU external borders?     

You will have to carry your passport, and fulfil any visa requirements, which may be introduced by other Member States.

 I have resided in Ireland for more than five years. How can I obtain EU long-term residence status?   

Ireland, does not participate the Directive (2003/109/EC) which deals with long term residence for third country nationals.  Therefore, the EU long-term resident status does not apply for UK nationals in Ireland.

 My family members (spouse, children) are citizens of a third country (neither EU nor UK). What should they do to keep their residence rights?

  1. a) If they already have a residence card issued under EU free movement law, this will be considered as their temporary residence permit until 31 October 2020, i.e. 12 months after Brexit date. After 31 October 2020, i.e. 12 months after Brexit date, they will have to apply for a new residence permit, according to the law that will be applicable at that time.
  2. b) If they do not have a residence card, they will have to apply for a residence permit as soon as possible to regularise their position in the State. For information on the application process, please visit this website inis.gov.ie.”

It appears that the current plan is for family members of British citizens to hold their EU Fam residence card for one year as a “temporary residence card”, whilst the new “transitional provisions are put in place.

This suggests that the family members of British citizens do not have to take any steps as their current EU residence card will serve as their temporary residence permission pursuant to Irish law for the first year at least.

If you or your family members are affected please do not hesitate to get in contact with our office.

The European Commission Webpage can be accessed in full here.

 

CHENCHOOLIAH V MINISTER FOR JUSTICE- IMPORTANT JUDGEMENT ON RIGHTS OF EU CITIZEN SPOUSES

The European Court of Justice delivered a very significant judgement in the case of Chenchooliah v Minister for Justice on the 10th September 2019, following a request for a preliminary ruling from the High Court in 2018.

This judgement has brought clarity regarding the correct procedure for the spouses of EU citizens, whose EU citizen spouse has left Ireland and therefore have lost their right to reside under Directive 2004/38/EC and the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015 to have their right of residence considered by the Minister.

In the proceedings it was confirmed by the Court that Ms Chenchooliah ceased to be a beneficiary of the Directive and Regulations following the departure of her EU Citizen husband from Ireland.

The Court found that the question nevertheless remains as to whether Ms Chenchooliah’s position was governed by the Directive or only by the national law.

The Court found that Ms Chenchooliah ‘s circumstances are covered by the EU Directive, stating that the Directive not only contained the conditions for the granting of residence rights but it also makes provision for a set of rules to cover situations when a right of residence is lost.

The Court found that Article 15 of the Directive and the procedures provided for by Articles 30 and 31 apply to all decisions restricting free movement of Union citizens and their family members in cases where there are no public policy, public security or public health matters, as in this case.

The Court noted that this Article also provides that the State may not impose a ban on entry or expulsion in these circumstances.

The Court concluded that to find otherwise would deprive Article 15 of its substance and practical effect.

The Court concluded that in accordance with Article 15(3) of Directive 2004/38, the expulsion decision that may be made against Ms Chenchooliah cannot under any circumstances, impose a ban on entry into the territory.

The practical effect of this decision may be very far reaching. The Court has concluded that spouses of EU citizens who were at one time covered by the provisions of the EU Free Movement Directive cannot be issued with notices of intention to deport under national law (Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended)) as the consequence of a refusal of these applications results in a deportation order, which imposes an indefinite ban on entry to the State.

Furthermore, the Minister’s decisions in these cases must be made in light of the procedural safe guards laid down in the Directive and Regulations. The ability to make an expulsion order under the Directive are restricted to cases concerning public health, security and public policy.  Deportation orders are on the other hand made at the discretion of the Minister following a full consideration of the applicant’s circumstances.

It now follows that many persons have been issued notices of intention to deport unlawfully and are currently having their case considered under the incorrect procedure.

Many persons may in fact have been issued with a deportation order or even have been deported from the State unlawfully.

This case affects the spouses of EU citizens whose EU citizen spouse has left the state or has stopped exercising EU Treaty Rights in Ireland.

We would submit that many people who have received deportation orders or notice of intention to deport letters and were previously resident on the basis of EU Treaty Rights, may now have grounds to request the deportation orders to be revoked. Any persons who believe they are affected by this decision should now contact our office for further advices.

The full judgement can be read here.

NEW PRE-CLEARANCE PROCESS FOR NON-EEA DE FACTO PARTNERS OF IRISH CITIZENS

In order to streamline the process for Irish emigrants to return home with their Non-EEA De Facto Partners, a new pre-clearance process has been introduced.

Launched on the 19th of August 2019, this new process enables De Facto Partners of Irish nationals to apply for their permission to reside in Ireland prior to travelling, providing heightened certainty for those planning on moving home to Ireland with their De Facto Partners.

Under the previous system, the application process for De Facto partners could only begin after their arrival in Ireland. The new process aims to speed up the permission process, thereby allowing applicants to register, reside and work in Ireland without delays.

For immigration purposes, a person is considered a De Facto Partner, opposite or same sex, of another person if they have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of others, akin to the practice of marriage or a civil partnership but not in law.

The Minister for Justice and Equality hopes that “this will encourage more people to come home… While away, some have met life partners and perhaps even started their own families. We want to show these people that Ireland is ready to welcome them home and that we will provide a clear immigration and labour market pathway for their De Facto Partners”.

For more information, please read here

EFFECTS OF BREXIT FOR NON-EEA FAMILY MEMBERS OF UNION CITIZENS RESIDENCE IN IRELAND

UPDATE- INIS has provided a welcomed update on the effects of Brexit on Non-EEA family members of British citizens seeking EU Treaty Rights currently residing in Ireland.

On the 31st of October, the United Kingdom will leave the EU and become a third country unless a draft withdrawal agreement is ratified prior to this. Brexit has left many unanswered questions for Non-EU/EEA British citizen family members.

Although currently entitled to avail of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015, a no-deal scenario would mean that Non-EEA family members of British citizens will no longer be able to exercise EU treaty rights. Encouragingly, if you are currently a Stamp 4 EUFam card holder, INIS advises that you should have no concerns regarding your continued residence after the 31st of October in the State.

The Department of Justice and Equality has been contacting holders of Stamp 4 EUFam residence cards confirming that “transitional arrangements” are being put in place in the event of a no-deal Brexit. These arrangements will facilitate the transfer of free movement rights under domestic immigration arrangements. The objective of these transitional arrangements is to retain similar rights to those currently enjoyed as a non-EU/EEA family member of a British citizen.

If you are a non-EU/EEA British citizen family member and currently reside in Ireland, any changes in your personal circumstances, such as your civil status, your citizenship or that of the British citizen family member should be brought to the attention of EU Treaty Rights Division.

INIS has recently reaffirmed that where applications are pending, no action is currently required.

For more information, please read here

You can contact EU Treaty Rights Division by email at eutreatyrights@justice.ie or by post at:

EU Treaty Rights Division
Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
13/14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2.

NEW ONLINE IMMIGRATION RENEWAL SYSTEM FOR DUBLIN-BASED STUDENTS

In order to support the increasing number of non-EEA students, a new online renewal immigration registration system has been established.

Starting 26th August 2019, Dublin-based students from outside of Europe will be able to renew their immigration registration online without any additional fees. Nearly 8,000 students are expected to use the new online renewal system in the coming months.

Currently, the immigration registration renewal system requires Dublin based non-EEA students to have an in-person appointment with INIS at Burgh Quay Registration – which usually means long queues especially toward the beginning of a new academic term.

However, this new online registration system should mitigate the long queues saving time for students and opening up appointment times for other customers at the INIS office.

As of now, the online renewal immigration registration system is only available to Dublin based non-EEA students, who have previously registered with INIS and are registering for at least their second year of study. However, depending on the success of the online immigration registration renewal system in Dublin, INIS will consider expanding it other areas and customers as well.

IMPORTANT JUDGMENT ON DEPENDENCY EU TREATY RIGHTS CASES – THE KUHN AND KHAN CASES

The Court of Appeal has issued a highly important and long-awaited decision on the matter of dependency in favour of the Applicants in the cases of Khan and ors. v the Minister for Justice and Equality and K and ors. V the Minister for Justice and Law Reform and the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The decision is very significant for family members of EU citizens who have applications, or who have previously been refused applications, for visas or residence cards based on the fact that they are dependent on an EU citizen family member.

The Court of Appeal decision will have a very positive impact for dependent family members of EU citizens.

Mr Justice Baker upheld the decision of Mr Justice Faherty in the High Court in finding that the approach of the Minister was unduly restrictive and that the test the Minister had applied was not in accordance with the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The Court of Appeal provides a summary of the test for dependency in paragraphs 81-85, stating:

“The test for dependence is one of EU law and an applicant must show, in light of his financial and social conditions, a real and not temporary dependence on a Union citizen. The financial needs must be for basic or essential needs of a material nature without which a person could not support himself or herself. A person does not have to be wholly dependent on the Union citizen to meet essential needs, but the needs actually met but be essential to life and the financial support must be more than merely “welcome”…”

The Court goes on to state:

“82. The concept of dependence is to be interpreted broadly and in the light of the perceived benefit of family unity and the principles of freedom of movement.

83. For the purposes of making the assessment, the proofs required, although remaining in the discretion of Member States, must not impose an excessively burdensome obligation on an applicant or impose too heavy a burden of proof or an excessive demand for the production of documentary evidence. The requested Member State must justify the refusal, and therefore must give reasons which explain and justify he refusal.

84. When the case law identifies the requirement that the dependence be “real”, this means that the dependence must be something of substance, support that is more than just fleeting or trifling, and support that must be proven, concrete, and factually established. However, the applicant does not have to establish that without the real or material assistance he or she would be living in conditions equivalent to destitution. Dependence may be for something more than help to sustain life at a subsistence level and no more.

85. What is to be assessed is whether a family member has a real need for financial assistance and not whether that person could survive without it. Thus stated, it is a test of the facts and not an interrogation of the reasons for the support.”

Regarding the evidential burden for the application, Mr Justice Baker commenced that the Minister had not indicated that no dependence had been established but that insufficient evidence was given in support of the application. In this regard Mr Justice Baker stated:

“109. The findings of Faherty J. were made following a reasoned and careful analysis of the letter setting out the decision of the Minister. I can find no fault in her reasoning, her findings of fact, or the inferences she made. Furthermore, it seems to me that she is correct that the letter from the Minister used language that made the applicants reasonably apprehensive regarding the level of scrutiny, and if, as she found, the level of scrutiny applied was overly strict and not in accordance with EU law, she was correct in her conclusion. Words do matter, and if the language of the Minister departed in its emphasis, tone, and possible import from that in the case law, it seems to me that Faherty J. was correct to grant certiorari. A person receiving correspondence communicating a decision is entitled to know the basis for the decision and to be apprehensive if the decision appears to be based on a negative rather than positive approach to the test to be applied.

110. Further, it appears to me that the application of the test must be done in a rational manner and the decision maker must give reasons that are transparent and involve an objectively reasonable engagement with the facts.

111. I do not accept that it is necessarily the case that a test stated in the negative that requires an applicant to show that it was impossible to live without support from a Union citizen family member is the same as a more positively expressed test which asks whether a person needs support to meet their essential needs. The test stated in the negative imposes a burden which is more onerous that that justified in the light of the authorities of the CJEU analysed above.

112. I consider that Faherty J. was correct that the approach of the Minister was unduly restrictive and that the test applied by the Minister was not in accordance with the jurisprudence of the CJEU. I can find no error in her approach to the facts or in her analysis of the basis on which the application was refused”

As well as stating that a test stated in the positive is more appropriate, that is one which ask whether a person needs the support to meet their essential needs, the judge also notably stated in paragraph 29 that no material difference was apparent in the test for dependency to be applied for a ‘permitted family member’ or a ‘qualifying family member’.

In sum, the judgement advocates for the Minister to indicate the legal test relied on in the assessment of dependency cases and to apply a positive and non-restrictive approach to the assessment of dependency under the EUTR law.

The judgment calls into question the legality of many decisions of the Minister where family members have previously been refused on dependency grounds.

The full judgment will be published shortly on the website of the courts, which can be found here.

UPDATE ON VISA DELAYS – ATIF AND MAHMOOD CASE

UPDATE – A few months ago, we published a blog regarding the considerable delays in the processing of EUTR visas for the family members of EU citizens. In Atif and Mahmood, several applicants challenged the legality of such delays.

In Atif and Mahmood, the High Court in Ireland ruled in favour of the applicants indicating that any delay over six months in processing visa applications was too long. However, the Minister appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals in Ireland. In order to make a decision in this matter, the Court of Appeals referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for guidance.

Specifically, the Court of Appeals sought a preliminary ruling on how to interpret Article 5(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004. This article addresses the free movement rights of EU citizens and their families and requires the Member State “to issue a visa as quickly as possible to the spouse and family members of a Union citizen exercising free movement rights.”

The Court of Appeals set forth these questions to the ECJ for preliminary ruling:

  1. Does a Member State breach the requirement of Article 5(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC when the delays in processing an application for EUTR visas for the family members of EU citizens exceed 12 months?
  2. Does a Member State breach the requirement of Article 5(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC when delays in processing are due to ensuring that the application is not fraudulent or an abuse of rights, for instance, a marriage of convenience?
  3. Does a Member State breach the requirement of Article 5(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC when delays in processing are due to background and security checks on applicants coming from third world countries for security purposes?
  4. Does a Member State breach the requirement of Article 5(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC when delays in processing are due to a “a sudden and unanticipated surge in such applications coming from certain third countries which are thought to present real security concerns”?

To the above questions, the ECJ has made a decision regarding this matter.

“Since, however, all of the visa applications at issue in the main proceedings were the subject of negative decisions, which were contested by means of court actions which were not upheld, and since the referring court has noted that the Court’s answer can no longer benefit the applicants in the main proceedings, as is clear from paragraphs 18 and 20 of the present order, the dispute in the main proceedings has become devoid of purpose and, consequently, an answer to the questions referred appears to be no longer necessary.”

Since all of the applications in question had already been determined, the ECJ deferred from making a decision in this matter. Essentially, the ECJ determined that issuing a decision in this case would no longer be beneficial to the applicants and therefore there is no point in pursuing the matter further. Thus, the issue of how to interpret Article 5(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC in regard to visa delays remains unresolved.

Read more about visa delays in our full blog here.

Read the full decision in this matter  here.

MINIMUM SALARIES RAISED FOR EMPLOYMENT PERMITS FROM JANUARY 2020 AND OTHER IMPORTANT CHANGES

The Employment Permits (Amendment)(No.2) Regulations 2019, 9th July 2019 amend the Employment Permit Regulations 2017-2019.

A number of the new regulations are now in force and a number will come into force in the new year, on 1st January 2020.

The required period of validity of an applicant’s passport has been reduced from 12 months to 6 months. There has also been a change to the numbers of employment permits that can be issued in respect of particular professions- dairy farming and the meat industry.

The most notable amendment is that there is to be an increase in the minimum salary required for a critical skills employment permit from €30,000 to €32,000 for an occupation on the highly skilled occupations list and from €60,000 to €64,000 for other professions.

In respect of General Employment permits, the period of time a job has to be advertised with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to satisfy the Labour Markets Needs test will also be increased from 14 days to 28 days.