In response to the growing demand for Irish immigration services and an increase in applications for International Protection, the Department of Justice has recently pledged to enhance the Irish immigration system.

To achieve this, the Department, in collaboration with the Immigration Service Delivery, unveiled a plan in April to modernize and revamp the immigration system. This plan, called the Justice Plan 2023, falls under Goal 4: ‘Deliver a fair immigration system for a digital age.’

As part of the Justice Plan 2023, significant changes have been outlined, including the introduction of a streamlined process for obtaining both an employment permit and immigration permission to live and work in Ireland. This new system will involve a single application process, making it more straightforward for non-EEA nationals.

The Justice Plan 2023 represents the final stage of the Department of Justice’s efforts to achieve the objectives set forth in the ‘Statement of Strategy 2021-2023.’ The primary aim of this action plan is to create a more modern, accessible, and customer-centric immigration service.

To expedite the process and make it more efficient, the government has committed to allocating nearly €18 million in additional funding in the 2023 budget.

Currently, individuals from non-EEA countries who wish to immigrate to Ireland must go through two separate applications: one for a general employment permit from the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, and another for a visa to live in Ireland.

Under the proposed Immigration Action Plan, both the employment permit and work visa applications will be consolidated into a single application platform, with all immigration services transitioning to a digital process. This integration will simplify the procedure, as applicants can complete the work permit and visa applications simultaneously, uploading the necessary documents digitally.

The key focus of the changes is to enhance customer service through a self-service approach and improve process efficiency while ensuring the security of the immigration system and strengthening border security.

Ultimately, the Department of Justice aims to create a fair immigration system for the digital age by leveraging increased digitalization and centralization.

The benefits of these changes for employers and immigrants are noteworthy. For businesses in Ireland, access to skilled talent is crucial, and the streamlined process will simplify relocation and visa acquisition for non-EEA nationals. This, in turn, will reduce work permit processing times, enabling foreign nationals to start working in Ireland more promptly.

Moreover, the new system aims to eliminate backlogs across all immigration types, addressing the current processing times that can take up to 12 weeks for employment permits and eight weeks for Ireland work permits.

In conclusion, the proposed changes to the Irish immigration system promise to bring significant advantages to both employers and immigrants, making the process more efficient and accessible while ensuring a fair and secure system for all.

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