Dáil Éireann - Volume 600 - 13 April, 2005

Written Answers. - Work Permits.

  204. Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the procedures whereby the spouses of non-nationals can secure work permits, in circumstances in which their spouses have already been legally working here for many years. [11486/05]

  Mr. Martin: On 18 February 2004 the Tánaiste announced the introduction of a new initiative to facilitate easier access to the Irish labour market by spouses of certain skilled non-EEA nationals working in Ireland.

These new measures are confined to the spouses of persons working here on working visas or work authorisations, to spouses of certain intra-company transferees and spouses of certain academics and researchers. In cases where some medical professionals are still working on work permits these will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

It is not intended generally that the spouses of persons on work permits would benefit from these new arrangements. The spouses of persons in respect of whom work permits have been issued are eligible to seek employment and have prospective employers apply for a work permit in the same way as for all non-EEA workers. However, where the immigration authorities have granted a spouse visa to permit family reunifications, such visas are granted on the condition that the spouse does not work. In such cases, my Department is precluded from considering work permit applications in respect of that spouse.

Detailed guidelines on how to apply for work permits as well as the eligibility criteria and procedures relating to the new spouses scheme are available on my Department’s website at www.entemp.ie.