Dáil Éireann - Volume 541 - 03 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Work Permits.

185. Mr. Perry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when the application for work permits by persons (details supplied) will be approved; the reason for the delays; if she will ensure that these applications are immediately processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21825/01]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): It is the policy of my Department to process applications for work permits strictly in the order in which they are received. The processing time for work permit applications has risen this year due to the unprecedented number of applications that continue to be received in the Department. The number of applications has increased from an average of 350 applications per week last year to over 1,000 per week. Increases in staff resources and overtime have facilitated the issue of over 26,800 work permits in the first eight months of this year compared to 18,000 for the full year in 2000. The Department is continuing to examine options for significantly reducing the processing time for the issue of work permits.

With reference to the list of applications, details supplied, in respect of various employers received by the work permits section in the Department, I am informed that some of these permits were issued last month. Assuming that the remaining applications are completed correctly and are otherwise in order, they should take approximately eight weeks to process from date of receipt.