Immigration Employment Permit Law Update
Continuity of service in relation to Employment Permit Applications and Appeals during Covid-19 Pandemic – our law firm continues to offer advice and a full service in relation to preparing and managing employment permit applications and appeals
Covid 19 – Changes to Operation of Employment Permits System in Ireland
On 30 March 2020 the Employment Permits Section published a guidance document Covid-19 Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements available here
With effect from 30 March 2020 the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has made the following changes to the processing of employment permit applications and employment permit appeals:
Employment Permits System Online
- The Employment Permits Section is currently operating remotely and should be contacted by email as post will not be dealt with until the office reopens. The main email address is [email protected]
- An electronic version (PDF) of an employment permit and a letter from the Employment Permits Section to issue by email as proof of an employment permit being approved which should be presented to immigration officials for verification purposes.
- New procedures for processing applications for Stamp 4 Letters of Support electronically have been put in place.
- Applications for Stamp 4 letters of support may now be submitted electronically by sending the required form and any supporting documentation by email to [email protected]
- As a result of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic if there are delays in processing Stamp 4 letters of support from the Department or processing Stamp 4 permissions from the Department of Justice and Equality, employment permit holders whose immigration permissions are due to expire between 20 March and 20 May 2020 may continue to live and work under the same terms and conditions as their existing permission for a further two months.
- New electronic procedures for employment permit appeals have been introduced. Applications for employment permit reviews can now be submitted by email to [email protected]
Renewal of Employment Permits
- In relation to renewal of employment permit applications the Department has clarified that an employment permit holder may continue to work whilst their renewal application permit is being processed and in such instances no person will be asked to cease work or to leave the country where the employment permit has expired. When an employment permit has issued the permit holder may apply to the Department of Justice and Equality to update their immigration permission.
Trusted Partner Applications and Renewal
- The Employment Permits Section will now accept online submissions for new and renewal applications for the Trusted Partner scheme without the requirement to provide a hard copy of the application form within 10 days.
Changes to employment permit applications awaiting processing
- Because of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID 19 coronavirus pandemic the Employment Permits Section recognise that this may impact on the ability of new employees to take up employment and have indicated that they will be flexible and facilitate changes to employment permit applications already submitted. Applications can be held in the processing queue until the situation becomes clearer, changes to start dates will be permitted where a permit application has not yet been processed and at any stage up until the processing of an application has taken place, and an applicant may request that their application be cancelled in which case a 100% refund will issue if the withdrawal is as a result of the crisis.
- On 21st March 2020, Immigration Service Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality announced that, as part of the combined efforts to tackle COVID-19, it was temporarily ceasing the processing of new visa applications except for certain priority/emergency cases such as Emergency visas (e.g. Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals). In relation to employment permit applications from a visa required country, the employer and prospective employee will be contacted to establish if they wish to proceed with the applications. The Department can continue to hold the application in the processing queue, change the employment start date or facilitate a withdrawal of the application with a full refund of the application fee.
Changes in the terms and conditions of employment of employment permit holders due to the COVID- 19 Pandemic
- For the duration of the Covid 19 Pandemic national emergency, employees who are employment permit holders can work remotely from home in Ireland once the employer notifies the Department by providing the name of the employer, the names of the employees are not required. The Department expects that when these temporary measures have been lifted that these employees will once again work from the locations cited on their employment permits.
- The Department have provided the following clarification in relation to changes in the terms and conditions of employment of employment permit holders that might arise as a result of the COVID- 19 Pandemic:
“The Employment Permit Acts sets out the terms and conditions for granting an employment permit including employee/employer details, location of employment, job role and remuneration. Currently the Department does not require employers and employees to apply for a new employment permit if minor changes are made to these terms and conditions over the lifetime of a permit, such as a change of occupation title with the duties remaining largely the same or a change of work location, such changes, however, must be notified to the Department. Other more significant changes to the terms and conditions of employment such as changes to remuneration, contract conditions would be regarded as material changes and as such a new employment permit would normally be required. However, in light of the current COVID-19 situation, the Department will seek to be as flexible as possible and will consider these situations on a case by case basis when brought to the Department’s attention.”
Temporary lay off employment permit holders due to Covid 19 Pandemic
- If an employment permit holder has been temporarily laid off or is working reduced hours during the period of the permit the following guidance has been provided by the Department:
“The Department should ideally be informed in advance of the temporary layoff/ reduced working hours so that it can be noted on the permit file.
At renewal stage, the salary and working hours as per the conditions of the permit granted may not have been achieved, however the Department will be cognisant that this is likely to be related to the measures introduced to deal with COVID-19 and will take this into account when considering applications for renewal.”
- As a result of the enactment of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid19) Bill 2020, which was signed into law by President Higgins on Friday 27 March 2020, the right to redundancy payment under S.12 of the 1967 Act has been suspended from 13 March 2020 until 31 May 2020, with the possibility of an extension.
Automatic renewal of immigration permissions that are due to expire from 20th March 2020 to 20th May 2020
- The Department of Justice and Equality have indicated that, in light of the uncertainties caused by the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, all such immigration permissions that are due to expire from 20th March 2020 to 20th May 2020 are automatically renewed by the Minister for Justice and Equality for a period of 2 months. The renewal of permission is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions attach.
COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
- The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a social protection scheme administered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is available to employees and the self-employed who have lost their job on (or after) March 13 due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The payment also applies to Non-EEA workers who have lost employment due to the COVID -19 pandemic. Further information on this payment and how to apply for it is available here:
Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
- The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme is administered by the Revenue Commissioners. The scheme enables employees whose employers are affected by the pandemic to receive significant supports directly from their employer. It is available to employers who keep employees, including employees who are employment permit holders, on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information on this special scheme and how to apply for it is available from the Revenue Commissioners here
Continuity of service in relation to Employment Permit Applications and Appeals during Covid-19 Pandemic – Employment Permit System Online
Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic our firm can continue to offer advice and a full service in relation to preparing and managing employment permit applications and appeals with communications by call/video call and email. As the Employment Permit System is now entirely online it is still possible for a law firm to provide a full service remotely without person to person contact in the interests of compliance with public health measures in force relating to the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.
Please contact our law firm if you require advice or full service representation from start to finish in relation to your employment permit application or employment permit review – send an email to [email protected] or call/message 0868561017 to make an appointment for a consultation