We recently posted an article in relation to the publication of the Employment Permits (Amendment Bill 2014). This legislation proposes significant changes to the existing work permit regime and the main changes are set out in our previous post.
We have further reviewed the proposed changes and note that the Bill is proposing to reintroduce the Labour Market Needs Test to all employment permit applications and this likely to have a significant impact.
The current position is that when an employee makes an application for a work permit, there is no requirement to satisfy the Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT). In circumstances where the employer makes the application however, the test must be satisfied. The test requires an employer to advertise any vacancy with the Department of Social Protection Employment Services/EURES Employment Network for at least two weeks as well as in a national newspaper for at least three days and also in either a local newspaper or jobs website for three days. Applications cannot be submitted until the Labour Market Needs Test has been completed. Full details of the test can be found here :
The reintroduction of the Labour Market Needs Test is likely to make the work permit application process more arduous and less attractive to employers, to the disadvantage of potential applicants who may have valuable skills and experience. Our own experience is that many employers simply decline to interview applicants on the basis that they do not hold a stamp 4 and do not take into account the fact that a prospective employee may be eligible for a work permit should the job be offered to them. Employers are also often not aware that there would be no significant delay should the applicant to have to obtain a work permit as applications are processed relatively quickly. The reintroduction of the LMNT to all work permit applications, whether made by the employee or the employer, may present a further disincentive to employers to take on applicants who require a work permit.
We will provide a further update on other relevant aspects of the Bill. It should be noted that the Bill is yet to be enacted and is not currently law. We will confirm on our blog when the provisions are enacted.