Delays to non-EU work permits 'not workable' for employers, CIF warns

The Department of Social Protection says some 7,000 PPS applications are pending a decision
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.43 21 Jan 2022

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Delays to non-EU work permits...

Delays to non-EU work permits 'not workable' for employers, CIF warns

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.43 21 Jan 2022

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A delay in processing PPS numbers and non-EU work permits is having knock-on effects.

They are just some of the areas affected by a backlog for people trying to receive official documents.

It is believed ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic, and the HSE cyber attack, has led to the delays.


There are claims staff in a range of sectors can be waiting months for a work permit or a PPS number.

Reporter Josh Crosbie for Newstalk Breakfast has been speaking to some people impacted.

Dermot Carey, head of safety and training in the CIF, says the wait for non-EU work permits has more than tripled in some cases.

"Delays from what would normally be three to four weeks to being between 14 and 17 weeks, depending on the category of applicant you are.

"That's obviously a major challenge when you're trying to deal with skills shortages and skills demands.

"And yes we understand that we need to do more and try and bring new people into the construction industry domestically.

"But to meet current demand and immediate demand, we need that pressure valve to be able to bring people in from outside - and we need to be able to do that reasonably swiftly.

"Between 17 and 14 weeks of a wait just is not a workable timeline for any employer".

One man, who is a chef, arrived in Ireland last November - and says the process has been draining.

"I just came two months ago, and now it's a bit difficult because I'm still waiting for my PPS.

"Now it's already almost two months and I don't get it."

He says this means his finances are taking a hit, as he is being emergency taxed.

"For finances and all it's as if - you have to pay for the tax and all - it's as if half of it, almost half of it that's being cut off".

He says he doubts he would have come to Ireland if he knew this was the situation.

"What was told, it's not really like that".

And he says he needs to make money here to help pay off debts.

"To save and to support my families, because I've loans and all to pay at home.

"But we can't receive that much here because of the PPS number and all and the tax.

"It's nothing compared to what I planned".

While CEO of One Family, Karen Kiernan, says delays to birth registrations is also having knock-on effects.

"Delays to people who are vulnerable, who are parenting on their own, who might be reliant on payments is really problematic for them.

"For some parents they want to get, say, a passport for their child... but for a lot of the parents we're working with, they need it to get basic social welfare payments, or to get housing assistance.

"So they literally need it to survive for themselves and their child".

"We really need those people prioritised, because it is very serious for a small number of people".

'Additional resources'

The Department of Social Protection says extra resources are being made available.

"In 2021, the Department of Social Protection received approximately 97,500 online applications for a PPSN from individuals residing in Ireland", it says in a statement.

"Of these, there are currently approximately 7,000 applications pending a decision, some of which are awaiting further detail and information from the applicant.

"The average processing time is now in the order of four weeks.

"However, the department can confirm that additional resources have been assigned to deal with PPSN applications, and that this increased capacity will reduce the number of applications currently pending and improve the waiting time to receive a PPSN," the statement adds.

You can listen back to Josh's full report here.

Main image: Construction engineers working on a building site. Picture by: Andor Bujdoso / Alamy Stock Photo

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CIF Department Of Social Protection Dermot Carey Disruption Josh Crosbie Karen Kiernan Newstalk Breakfast Non-EU Work Permits Pps Number

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