COVID-19 Employment Permit System Contingency Arrangements. Permit processing. 30th March 2020

The following is a summary of contingency arrangements put in place to cover impacts fro the current public health crisis. In essence it represents a shift to electronic communication and the production of digital documents to facilitate remote / home working for DBEI personnel. The policy also represents a pragmatic response to the impact of the current crisis on personnel working within the department and on service users.

The initial posting covers changes to processing and document handling. A subsequent posting will cover arrangements to facilitate eremite working for permit holders.

Note for all personnel entering Ireland from oversees there is a requirement for arrivals to self isolate for 14 days. We would ask that this is incorporated into any projected business planning for new arrivals.

Core points:

  • The Department has implemented remote working arrangements for staff and has adjusted operations to provide for the acceptance of electronic/scanned documents for Reviews, Stamp 4 letters of support and Trusted Partner applications and will issue the outcomes of these via e-mail rather than through the post.
  • The DBEI has also agreed with Immigration Service Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality, as a temporary measure, soft copy arrangements for issuing employment permits.
  • As of 30th March the DBEI has been prioritising the processing of employment permit applications for medical personnel and these applications will continue to be prioritised. At this point, all applications for medical personnel in the processing queue have been actioned and employment permit staff have recommenced processing all other applications.

Measures to facilitate travel, later entry to the state in the light of COVID -19

  • The DBEI will facilitate changes to contract start dates to facilitate later entry
  • Will hold an application in the queue to facilitate later processing if requested
  • Will allow the withdrawal of an application.

Temporary extensions

In tandem with INIS Immigration Service Delivery at the Department of Justice the DBEI will facilitate the following:

  • Where there are delays in terms of the processing of employment permit renewal applications and Stamp 4 letters of support holders of expiring documents may continue to live and to work under the same terms and conditions associated with their existing permission.
  • This brings the DBEI in line with the published arrangements made by INIS where residence permissions have been extended by two months if these are due to expire between 20th March and 20th May 2020.

New Permit issuing arrangements

  • Provisionally, the DBEI in agreement with the Department of Justice will issue electronic (PDF) versions of permits to employers/ employees/ agents of record.
  • These will be issued with a departmental covering letter both of with will require to be presented to immigration officials for verification purposes.
  • Ultimately, paper copies of the principal and certified copy of the issued permits will be forwarded to relevant parties in line with pre-existing standard arrangements that are subject to this temporary suspension.

Stamp 4 Letters of Support.

  • A new electronic application system has been put in place to receive applications for Stamp 4 Letters of Support from the DBEI
  • Applications for Stamp 4 letters may be emailed to the DBEI to a dedicated email address
  • Decisions in respect of an application including the provision of a grant letter will be communicated by email to applicants.
  • Applications that have been made by post in recent days may be re-submitted to the DBEI by email.
  • Persons holding a CSEP for 20 months may submit a Stamp 4 request letter application however it will be dealt with once the expiring CSEP has been held for 21 months.
  • In light of the uncertainties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, COVID19, immigration permissions due to expire between 20 March and 20 May 2020, will be automatically extended for two months.
  • 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.

Reviews and appeals of employment permit decisions refusing a grant.

  • Applications seeking a review of a pre-existing employment permit decision may now be submitted electronically by submitting the required forms and supporting documents to a dedicated email address.

Renewals of pre-existing permits

  • Applications for renewals may be made 4 months prior to expiry of the current permit and up to one month after its expiry. This arrangement will continue.
  • The practice whereby a permit holder may continue to work whilst a renewal application is in train will continue.
  • No renewal applicant would be asked to cease work or leave the state whilst a renewal applicato0n is in train. On issue of a renewed permit the applicant may seek extensions of INIS registration in line with normal practice.

Applications for Trusted Partner Registrations (new and renewal)

  • The DBEI 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.

Transfers of Undertakings

  • Applications made on he required form with the relevant associated documentation may now be submitted by email to the standard DBEI employment permit email address.

Arrangements associated with Irish entry visas

  • 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.
  • Certain categories will continue to be processed on a priority / emergency basis.
    • Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals
    • Immediate family members of Irish citizens
    • Persons legally resident in the State;
    • Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive;
    • Transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary; and
    • Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions.
  • Note that in respect of 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.



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