A recent global study by BCG revealed that 57% of all workers are willing to work abroad. The figure has dropped slightly (7%) since 2014 but still evidences the global pool of talent available to hire. In fact, of the digital experts amongst the global respondents to the study, the willingness to work abroad is 67%. This includes highly skilled interface designers, mobile app developers, and experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
One of the ways companies in Ireland tap into this global workforce is by hiring employees that don’t have an EU passport. To do this it is necessary for the employee to have an employment permit which the company or the employee can apply and pay for (€1,000). Eligible occupations under this type of permit are deemed to be critically important to growing Ireland’s economy and are in significant shortage of supply in our labour market. As of 2017, more than 2000 companies in Ireland had received employment permits for their Non-EU team members.
Understandably, when someone moves country to take up a career opportunity they like to bring their spouse/partner with them. Often the spouse/partner is also a highly skilled and experienced professional with a lot to offer Ireland’s economy.
But are they eligible to work here too? In short, yes, they are.
In Ireland, the spouse/dependent of a critical skills visa holder are automatically issued with a Stamp 3. Meaning they do not require any sponsorship to work or apply for a permit. For the spouse, all that is required is a job offer for 12 months and a copy of the employer’s recent P30.
However, many Stamp 3 holders that we have spoken to in our Irish head office have experienced frequent confusion when applying for roles in Ireland. Especially as the Irish Residence Permit of a Stamp 3 holder states ‘Cannot work or engage in business’ which is not accurate.
“It becomes very difficult to convince employers that you are allowed to work in Ireland. The first document they ask for is your residency permit and it all goes downhill from there after they take a look at it”, says Anuja Patwardhan, a Dentist and an InternationalBaccalaureate facilitator for Biology in India, who moved to Ireland 3 years ago when her husband, a Business Analyst, took up an offer to become a Senior Manager in Novartis Pharmaceuticals Irish branch.
There are also time delays. Currently in Ireland, if a holder of a Stamp 3 visa is offered a job the delay in their Stamp type being updated can take up to 3-4 months. The person is not allowed to start work until the new visa type is issued.
“Over my 20 plus years of international recruitment I have rarely met an employer who is willing to wait three months or more for a new employee to start unless they are at Executive level. Which means almost all of the Stamp 3 workforce, will lose out,” says Ken Harbourne, MD of recruitment agency Wallace Myers International.
“In almost every area it’s a candidate short market. Professionals with Stamp 3 visas offer an opportunity for businesses in Ireland to hire skilled and qualified professionals who want to work and can do so at no extra cost to the employer. Reducing the wait time between a job offer and visa issue date will greatly improve the chance of a Stamp 3 holder being hired and will give employers an already available solution to their hiring challenges”
There is an opportunity involving professional with Stamp 3 visas that is not currently being fully optimised by companies or the government. Right on their doorstep, there is a pool of skilled and qualified professionals who want to work and can do so at no extra cost to the employer.
The confusion around Stamp 3 is detrimental not only to the individual for whom it can cause stress and a loss of confidence but also to the country as a whole as they are losing out on more taxpayers. Companies are losing out on highly skilled employees and are under constant threat of the primary permit holder resigning as a result of their partner being unhappy.
Despite Anuja’s extensive qualifications and professional experience she has found it near to impossible to convince Irish employers of her work eligibility, “I have only had positive hiring experiences with businesses in Ireland that are run by non-EU managers and owners”, says Anuja.
So, next time you come across a Stamp 3 CV, remember that it means that that candidate does not require sponsorship to work for you.