The Act provides clarity and certainty to employers regarding the circumstances in which a permit may be granted. In particular, a new critical skills employment permit (a "CSP") replaces the existing green card permit and is designed to address skills shortages in key areas. It is expected that ICT roles will remain high on the list of designated occupations for which a CSP will be granted.

Following introduction of the Act, it is now possible for individuals who hold a CSP to have their family accompany them to Ireland and it will also "fast track" the holder toward obtaining residency status in Ireland. The existing intra-company transfer permit, which facilitates the transfer of certain key employees between affiliated companies, has been retained under the Act.

Currently an Irish employer may not obtain an employment permit for a non-EEA national unless at least 50% of its existing employees are Irish or EEA nationals. While the new Act retains this requirement, certain carve-outs are now available for start-up companies. This should prove very beneficial for new multinational companies establishing in Ireland who often seek to transfer employees of the parent company to Ireland on a secondment basis during the start-up stage.

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.