The Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humpherys has been urged to address the long processing delays for work permit applications.
Deputy Robert Troy said Minister Humphreys had a responsibility to address the issue as processing times have hit a 14-week delay and will have a negative effect on small business growth.
He said; “It’s very concerning that work permit processing times have now reached 14 weeks for standard applications. I have been contacted by many businesses, in particular those in the catering and hospitality sectors, who are very worried about not being able to fill positions due to skills shortages. For instance, there is a severe shortage of chefs nationwide and the 14 week wait is not helping the situation. At a time when more people are out spending more, businesses should be able to take advantage of that, not worrying about whether they have the staff to cope.
“Similarly, home care providers and nursing homes are unable to deal with the 14 week wait for health care assistants. Businesses situated in towns and villages across the country cannot afford to wait such long periods for applications to be processed, while at the same time having to deal with staff shortages. It is putting a disproportionate cost and administration burden on their businesses.
“The latest private questions replies released to me shows that the total number of applications in the processing queue which have yet to be processed at the end of each month has increased by more than 25 per cent from January to June this year – the problem is only getting worse. I have written to Minister Humphreys asking that she urgently addresses these growing bottlenecks in the work permit processing system in her Department. She needs to deploy additional resources which would help reduce the processing time.
“We cannot let our domestic enterprises wait indefinitely as they try to grow their business.”