Corporate Immigration: Recent DevelopmentsMonday, 29 July 2019
There have been two significant immigration developments this month.
1. Citizenship applications
The High Court delivered judgment in the case of Jones v Minister for Justice and Equality  IEHC 519, which dealt with the residency requirements for applications for Irish citizenship by naturalisation. The High Court determined that the literal interpretation of the phrase “continuous residence”, as used in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, means that no applicant for citizenship through naturalisation can be granted citizenship if they have spent even a day outside of Ireland in the year prior to their citizenship application. This has been viewed as a surprising judgment by many commentators, and represents a significant restriction on the Department of Justice and Equality policy to date, which allowed for 6 weeks of absence from Ireland during the previous year. The judgment, therefore, casts doubt on multiple applications yet to be determined by the Minister for Justice and Equality. It has been reported that the judgment has been appealed. It has also more recently been reported that urgent legislation is being drafted by the Government to address the judgment.
2. Employment permits
The Employment Permits (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 (the 2019 Regulations) introduced changes to the Irish employment permits scheme. The main changes relate to the criteria for critical skills, and general, employment permits, which come into effect from 1 January 2020.
A critical skills employment permit is available for two categories of applicant:
- a restricted number of strategically important occupations contained in the Critical Skills Occupations List. The 2019 Regulations increase the minimum annual remuneration threshold for this category of application from €30,000 to €32,000
- occupations which are not included on the Critical Skills Occupations List, but are also not excluded as a result of featuring on the Ineligible List of Occupations. The 2019 Regulations increase the minimum annual remuneration threshold for this category of application from €60,000 to €64,000
A general employment permit may be available to other applicants, subject to complying with certain criteria. One of the key differences between a critical skills, and general, employment permit application is the need to carry out a Labour Market Needs Test for general employment permits. The 2019 Regulations will extend the period of time required for a job vacancy to be advertised when carrying out a Labour Market Needs Test. This period will increase from 14 days to 28 days.
Alternatively, visit the ByrneWallace Corporate Immigration page for details of our services and expertise advising on immigration matters.
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