Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 09 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Skill Shortages.

  230. Mr. Cregan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he has considered the concept of a highly skilled migrant programme for all graduates and graduates educated at universities and colleges here; and when such a programme will be formally announced. [27828/04]

  Mr. Martin: I have no plans to introduce a new scheme of migration for highly skilled graduates. I am satisfied that the current administrative arrangements are sufficient to allow highly skilled individuals to reside and work in Ireland, where the required skills cannot be sourced within the European economic area, EEA. The EEA comprises the 25 member states of the European Union and Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. Nationals of the EEA do not require any form of authorisation or permit.

The working visas or work authorisations scheme is designed to facilitate the employment of individuals from outside the EEA who are highly skilled in particular economic sectors where labour shortages exist. Principally, these are health professionals, information computing technology professionals, and construction professionals, for example, architects, engineers and town planners. However, for international companies that are located here, an intra-company transfer facility is available, on a case-by-case basis, to enable them to transfer senior managers or exceptionally skilled staff to Ireland, for a fixed duration, without an economic needs test.

[219] Even in cases where skills shortages exist, employers should of course consider training suitable personnel within their own companies before seeking employment permits for overseas personnel.