Here’s what you need to know about Work Permits for Healthcare Assistants

healthcare assistant and patient discussion

In July of 2021, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English announced changes to the Irish employment permit system – a move that affects countless healthcare assistants around Ireland.

The changes were made in order to address issues such as labour shortages in the healthcare and nursing home sectors across the country.

With an ever-increasing elderly population in Ireland, these changes are aimed at securing carers for those who need them the most.

In this blog post, we will outline exactly what these changes are and how they will affect healthcare workers.

What changes were announced?

One of the primary developments introduced by the minister was the removal of Health Care Assistants from the ‘ineligible occupation list’.

This means that, following the changes, international healthcare assistants are now eligible to apply for employment permits in Ireland.

As the number of elderly people in Ireland continues to grow, the country has a shortage of healthcare workers to provide sufficient long-term residential care for older people into the future.

Who is eligible to apply for an Irish employment permit?

There will be a requirement that workers should have attained a relevant QQI Level 5 qualification after two years of employment and this training is available to employers and employees in the sector at no or low cost.

General employment permits may be obtained in respect of employment with a minimum annual salary. This is usually above €30,000. When it comes to Health Care Assistants, there must be a minimum annual remuneration of at least €27,000.

An employee will need to be able to hold the relevant qualifications, skills or experience that are required for employment.

Basing this on a 39-hour working week, an hourly rate of pay of €13.31 is required.

This salary can not include any bonuses, shift allowances, overtime etc.

a patient and a healthcare assistant

Why were these changes needed?

In 2018, the Health Service Capacity Review forecasted that there would be a 59% increase in the people aged over 65 and a 95% increase in the population aged over 85 in Ireland by 2031.

This also has a direct influence on the number of care beds needed, as between 2016 to 2031, the number of long-term care beds required is predicted to rise by more than 10,000, which will give an additional demand for higher staffing levels.

The changes are predominantly aimed at addressing labour and skill shortages in the medium and long term.

With a rising ageing population, there will be more workers needed to care for our elderly.

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What information is needed to apply?

There is a variety of information needed for this application, both on the employee themselves and the employer.

The Employer Registered Number (ERN) and Company Name Registered Number is needed.

Employer details that are needed include:

  • Name of Company/Business as well as Trading Name (if different).
  • Type of Company (Sole Trader, Limited etc.).
  • Nature of Business
  • Number of EEA and/or Swiss Nationals (including Irish) currently in your employment
  • Number of non-EEA Nationals currently in your employment.
  • Confirm if any redundancies have taken place in the last 6 months for the same role.
  • Name, position in the company, telephone number and email address for the contact person.

When it comes to the employee, the following information may be needed:

  1. Full name and nationality, date of birth, gender, address, mobile number, email address and PPS number if they have one.
  2. Passport number as well as an expiry date
  3. If they are residents in Ireland, it must be confirmed on what basis and provide their GNIB/Irish Resident’s Permit Pin. This 6-digit registration number can be found on the back of the Residence Permit Card.
  4. Confirmation of relevant details of qualifications suited to the role.
  5. Details of any previous visa permissions or employments in Ireland

Details of the job may also be needed, such as the number of hours working in a week and pay rate.

healthcare assistant looking at important documents

Who can help me with my Irish employment permit application?

Visa First can help you with your employment permit applications for Ireland!

We’re the experts when it comes to employment permits, we’ve been helping workers secure visas and work permits for nearly 20 years.

Here are some of the many advantages of using Visa First:

  • You’ll have a high chance of a successful outcome!
  • It’s a stress-free process – all 100% online!
  • You will be given your very own visa expert who will prepare your online form and give you guidance throughout the whole process


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