MARK Zuckerberg's Facebook got three times as many work permits for foreign employees last year as it did in 2011 — despite a drop-off in the number of permits dished out by the Government in 2012.
The social networking giant — which employs 400 people in its Dublin HQ — was granted 91 work permits in 2012, compared to 30 in 2011.
Its rival LinkedIn, which set up its European headquarters in Dublin a few years ago, got 15 work permits last year — almost twice as many as it received in 2011.
" Facebook's Dublin headquarters is a growing office and so the figures reflect continued recruitment efforts," said a spokeswoman for Facebook.
"As Dublin is the headquarters for the whole European area, it makes sense that it employs people from all over Europe, including Ireland." Google got the lion's share of work permits for nonnationals last year. The IT giant received 147 work permits for non-nationals in 2012 — just shy of the 148 it secured the year before.
Overall, technology companies got more than one out of four work permits granted last year. Along with Google and Facebook, IBM, Dell, Tata Consultancy Services, Ericsson, Wipro Technologies, Infosys Technologies and Accenture are among those which got at least 50 work permits for nonnationals in 2012.
Paypal, which is owned by eBay, got five work permits in 2012. Early last year, Paypal announced it would create about 1,000 jobs in Ireland — a move described by the IDA earlier this week as one of the biggest job investments in Ireland by an international company in 2012.
The IDA, which is responsible for attracting foreign jobs to Ireland, said that about 6,600 new jobs were created in Ireland last year by companies supported by the IDA.
Overall, the Government granted about 4,000 work permits last year — about a fifth less than in 2011. "There has been a general decline over recent years in the numbers seeking employment permits — reflecting the economic climate," said a spokeswoman for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Food companies also secured a good portion of the permits awarded last year.
Larry Goodman's ABP Food Group received 47. Dawn Meats Ireland — which struck a €300m deal last year to supply three million burgers to McDonald's every day — was granted 27 permits.
The number of permits given to the Health Service Executive in 2012 was about half that of 2011.
Other companies which got work permits last year include the award-winning Dublinbased Brown Bag Films, which produced the animation, Give Up Yer Aul Sins. Another animation company, Cartoon Saloon, which produced the award-winning The Secret of Kells, also got a permit. Duffy's Circus, which is more than 200 years old, got three work permits.
The Irish Rugby Football Union got 15 permits. A number of charities, including Barnardos and Concern, were also granted permits last year.