Nasc highlights gender based discrimination in Ireland’s work permit policy

Wed, May 3, 2017

Nasc has made a submission to the Department of Jobs and Enterprise (DJEI) on its ‘Review of Highly Skilled and Ineligible Lists of Employment’ calling attention to the fact that Ireland’s current employment permit policy indirectly discriminates against women.

While the DJEI employment permit policies may not directly discriminate against women, their gender neutrality has a negative effect on women’s access to legal immigration channels and to migrant women’s equal access to the labour market.

According to Ireland’s most recent CEDAW Report (2016), the Irish government recognises the existing gender pay gap in Ireland as being 14.4% for 2012, the latest estimate. Current eligibility criteria for employment permit applications set a minimum annual remuneration of €30,000 per year, without acknowledging the impact the gender pay gap has on women’s employment prospects. Moreover, male dominated industries, occupations and positions are overrepresented in the Highly Skilled Occupations List.

The effect of current employment permit policy on migrant women’s access to the Irish employment market is evidenced by DJEI’s own statistics, which were provided to Nasc upon request for the purposes of our submission. You can view those statistics here.

According to DJEI’s statistics, of all applications for Critical Skills Employment Permits (CSEP) in 2016, out of a total of 3,499 applications, 68% were men. Most CSEP and Green Card permit applicants are men, representing 70% of the total applicants in 2015, 76% in 2014, 79% in 2013, 75% in 2012, 70% in 2011 and 64% in 2010.*

As part of the Irish state’s international and domestic obligations, the DJEI should take into consideration the effects work permit policies have on migrant women’s equal access to the job market, and should address these effects through appropriate measures.

* Note that in the statistics provided by the DJEI, the only numbers disaggregated by sex were those corresponding to permit applications, not those granted, refused or withdrawn.