Despite the current recession in Ireland, the demand for certain specific, niche skills exceeds supply available within the EEA. As a result Ireland has aimed to attract key talent from non-EEA countries to fill skills shortages in specific sectors such as IT, engineering, finance and healthcare. This study discusses the policies and practical measures introduced to attract highly qualified and qualified third-country nationals to Ireland.
The study shows that the Irish national policies have been effective in weighting the balance of third-country labour migration towards skilled and highly-skilled workers. Labour force data show that in 2012, the proportion of third-country nationals in employment in Ireland, who were employed in high-skilled occupations, was 46 per cent, third highest among 20 EU countries for which data are available. The proportion of employed non-EU nationals with high educational attainment was also particularly high in Ireland (69%), the UK (64%), Luxembourg (54%) and Sweden (47%).
However a large evidence base shows that employers in Ireland continue to experience shortages of certain workers in ICT, healthcare and financial services sectors. In recent years migrants with specific skills mixes, such as foreign languages and business skills, have also been targeted.
Research indicates that the absence of clearly defined family reunification and long-term residence schemes are possible barriers to attracting third-country nationals to Ireland.