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Direct work access is needed for the spouses and partners of the senior management, key personnel and trainees who come to Ireland under the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits, a Fine Gael TD has said.

The Intra-Company Transfer Employment (ICT) Permit is designed to allow skilled workers transfer from overseas branches of multinational corporations to their Irish branches. At present, spouses of ICT permit holders can move to Ireland immediately with the permit holder, however they are not entitled to access the labour market automatically. Instead, they too must apply for a separate employment permit if offered a job.

Deputy David Stanton, Fine Gael spokesperson for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said: “Intra-company employment permits are a very important incentive for new companies setting up in Ireland.  Similarly, both Irish and foreign based established companies with an international footprint also value the opportunity to transfer highly skilled staff to different global locations for set time periods, in order to build leadership and access vital skills and experience.

“However, family access to employment is a key factor in attracting and retaining talent.  Many highly skilled people choose not to take up the opportunity to relocate to countries where their partners may find it difficult to get employment.

“I understand that the Department of Justice is undertaking a review of the broader family reunification policy, including work rights of spouses, and this is a welcome development. An amendment to broaden the permit remit could be made to the Employment Permits Bill 2022 and I will be exploring this matter with the Department of Justice. We cannot have a situation where some of the best talent may not be coming to Ireland because of these restrictions – it’s potentially damaging to our economy and needlessly so, as this issue is easy to address.”.