Expatriate labour is a growing concern for employers.
It’s also a topic of intense debate.
This year, the Irish Government announced a new directive that will introduce a cap on the number of temporary visas a company can grant, but the impact on employment is still unclear.
The Irish Times has spoken to several expatriation industry figures and heard the same argument over and over: “I don’t think there’s a big gap between the expatriating workforce and the Irish workforce.
There’s certainly more people in the Irish economy now than when I left, which is probably because of that.”
For some companies, however, expatriated workers are the only ones working.
In recent months, a new group of Irish expatriations has been campaigning for a cap to be placed on the numbers of visas a firm can grant.
The Irish National Council for the Expatriate Workers (INCE) is the largest organisation of expatriators in the country, with over 12,000 members.
It has been fighting the proposal for almost a decade.
The proposal has been in place since at least 2007, when it was first put forward in a report prepared by the then minister for labour and social welfare.
It was later passed on to the Irish government in 2017, which included the proposals in the draft Labour and Social Protection Act.
“There were a lot of reasons why it was proposed at that time,” said Gary Furlong, the founder of INCE.
“We had a big rise in immigration from Europe.
There was a lot more emphasis on a return to our homelands.
But there were also a lot other factors at play.
A lot of people left Ireland, the economy was going down, there was a bit of recession, the currency was going up, and there were other factors.”
Furlong added: “There were some changes that came into effect, and we now have an additional visa.
We’re trying to get a cap, and hopefully it’ll be a fair cap.”
A spokesperson for Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton told The Irish Sun that the proposals were introduced under the Labour and National Security Act, which requires that “the minimum number of visas granted be limited to the number in the population.”
She added that the proposed limit was set “in line with other provisions” such as the Universal Social Charge, and “not in response to any particular case”.
“The Minister for Labour and Government is reviewing this issue and will be providing a report on this matter,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson from the Department of Employment Affairs said: “We’re constantly looking at how to manage our immigration system and are looking at all of the relevant legislation to help ensure we can provide our citizens with the best possible working experience.
We’ll continue to do all we can to support the Irish expat workforce.”
The proposal, if it goes ahead, will mean that some companies will have to give up the option of bringing in expatriants.
Furlongo told The Independent that many expats have to find other ways of working because they’re not getting the best working conditions.
“There’s a lot to learn in the industry from expats.
The biggest problem is that they are not paid enough, they don’t get the benefits they deserve, they’re very underpaid, they get no health care, they can’t take holidays.
There are a lot [expat] workers out there, and it’s a problem,” he said.”
They don’t know where they can work.
They’re living in limbo, without a home.”
Fidong said that if expats were to lose their right to work, it would impact on the economy in general.
He added: “[The] question of expats will affect the whole economy.
“What we’re seeing with expats is that there’s not a lot they can do. “
It is a very difficult situation for the expat worker.””
What we’re seeing with expats is that there’s not a lot they can do.
It is a very difficult situation for the expat worker.”
Read more: The Irish Government plans to introduce a limit on temporary visas in the forthcoming Labour and State Development Act.