Permission to work
WITH the unemployment rate not far below half a million, many may find it surprising that the number of work permits issued to non-EU citizens so far this year has risen by 18pc. Explanations for this trend are incomplete but intriguing.
They vary from the rough-and-ready -- foreigners, according to the current folklore, work harder and earn less -- to surprising facts. A country that has long exported nurses by the thousand now imports them, if only by the hundred. There is a world-wide shortage of nurses.
By law, an employer with a job vacancy must make every effort to find an Irish person or EU national for the position. One might have thought the search would present little difficulty, but no amount of legislation can prevent the flow, in every direction, of people in search of adventure or simply in search of a living. This is well illustrated by the fact that a large proportion of this year's list, totalling 6,621, is made up of people from the emergent economic superpowers: 320 Brazilians, 288 Chinese and a huge 1,780 Indians.