The Irish Employment permit unit has just provided the following briefing 13/03/20:
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation wishes to advise of the following important notices in respect of the processing of employment permits.
1. Prioritising all medical employment permits.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a public health emergency of international concern. The Employment Permits service is considered a vital part of the jigsaw in keeping the economy moving and in ensuring that key medical staff are available for our health services at this critical juncture as the country tackles this emerging situation. As such, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has begun the process of expediting all applications for employment permits for medical staff in our processing queue. It is expected that this process will take approximately a week to complete and, as a result, there will be some impacts on the timelines for the processing of all other employment permit applications. The Department will notify Trusted Partners when this process has been completed.
2. Contingency Planning
Employment Permits has a contingency plan in place for dealing with this public health emergency. Currently our offices are functioning as normal. In the event of a slowdown, or a shut down, this office will be able to continue to carry out its priority work such as processing employment permits and carrying out reviews. At some stage it may not be possible to print and distribute employment permits, if this happens the Department will update all stakeholders informing them of its solution. DBEI would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and will be working hard to keep any disruption to a minimum. We will also be providing updates on our website – https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits