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To: Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, Department Of Justice and Equality, Oireachtas

Support Stamp 3 - Spouse/Dependent Visa Holders for the Right to Work

Support Stamp 3 - Spouse/Dependent Visa Holders for the Right to Work

It is increasingly common that those migrating to Ireland for the purpose of employment are being joined by their families. Family migration represents amongst the most prevalent forms of third-country nationals’ migration in Ireland. For non-EEA families, immigration permissions in Ireland are tied to one partner/spouse, allowing only them to work, while the other family members are economically dependent. This approach acts as a block to the mobility of non-EEA workers and integration of non-EEA families in Ireland.

The issue we face is not only in the current delays with processing permits but the system as a whole - we believe that the family members accompanying work permit holders should receive immediate access to the labour market once they have been granted a residence permit, i.e. without the need to apply for a separate work permit. Our position is backed with definitive evidence, support from the business community, international best practices along with recommendations from Permits Foundation, Ireland’s ranking on the relevant parameters in the Migrant Integration Policy Index and our own statistic analysis. While the overall unemployment rate in Ireland is 5%, among stamp 3 holders, it was a shocking 93% in 2017, 95% in both 2016 and 2015.


- Employers should be given clear information, including, if required, training so they are aware of the rights of Stamp 3 holders in this area and encouraged to provide a fair opportunity to candidates in this category.
- The INIS and DBEI websites should be edited to clearly explain the State’s policy to facilitate the access to employment of dependent family members residing in Ireland.

- The dependant family members should not require an additional work permit to access the labour market as it creates an additional burden on the jobseeker and on the permit system as a whole. Rather, they should have direct authorization to work and should only be required to register their employment. The time of registration should not exceed 2 weeks, to enable candidates to join an employer within 2-3 weeks of obtaining a formal offer of employment. This can both assist in the integration of workers and their families while reducing the burden on DBEI.
- For those dependent on the general primary work permit, the conditions for obtaining a spousal/family work permit should be more favourable than those for non-EEA individuals with no ties to Ireland. A possible solution is to introduce one type of spousal permit for dependent family members of primary work permit holders, which will be more easily processed.

- Ireland should either adopt a system similar to UK or Denmark, or as the rest of the EU Member States adopt the Family Reunification Directive* / the European Blue Card system**.

*The Directive on the right to family reunification establishes common rules for exercising the right to family reunification in 25 EU Member States (excluding the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark). Once admitted in the Member State, family members receive a residence permit and obtain access to education, employment, and vocational training on the same basis as the sponsor.
**The Blue Card system is an immigration permission used by most EU Member States to attract highly skilled workers, which grants them and their families’ equal rights to EU nationals. Thus, it can provide a strong basis for the integration of workers and their families, whilst also ensuring Ireland attracts workers with the necessary skills like in all developed countries.

Why is this important?

We did not relocate to Ireland to lose our careers!

Many highly skilled and talented non-EU professionals are forced to find jobs in other countries due to dissatisfaction among their spouses, coupled with insufficient single person income and high cost of living. Staff retention is one of the toughest challenges faced by Irish businesses in 2018.

We are not demanding any special status or advantage for the spouses - only the RIGHT TO WORK AND PAY TAXES in Ireland.

Stamp 3 holders are spouses/partners/dependents of non-EU Critical and General work permits holders, who relocated to Ireland with their families as they are qualified and skilled professionals. When many of our families took a decision regarding whether or not to consider relocating to Ireland, we referred to sources such as the Citizens Information website, which states “The scheme makes it easier for eligible spouses, partners and dependents to access employment”. However, a different reality hit us after relocating. Despite the level of education, professional background and years of experience, we are not considered for jobs even when we have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience for it and can bring diversity to the table.

We had options but we chose Ireland. Let us Work, Integrate and Contribute!

Recruiters seek only Stamp 4 and EU nationals, and discriminate against Stamp 3 holders. Most employers are not willing to wait for us to obtain a work permit after we get an offer letter, especially given that many of us have non-critical skills. They expect us to have an existing authorization to work and join in 2-3 weeks at most. It impacts our careers, our mental health and the lives of our families. Eventually, if we cannot settle here, we will be forced to take our families (Irish employed workforce) to other countries in which family integration is supported.

We need a solution and your support to help us to integrate into Irish society and revive our careers!

How it will be delivered

We have met and delivered our petition to the:
- Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI), 15 Oct 2018.
- Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), 24 Oct 2018.
- Leinster House, 27 Nov 2018.
- Houses of the Oireachtas, 30 Jan 2019: Joint Committee on Public Petitions has agreed to correspond further with the Department of Justice and Equality and leave the petition open until the parties are satisfied with the outcome.


Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Reasons for signing

  • It makes no sense not to benefit from the talent pool already present in Ireland, especially now, when the world is getting a little bit crazy...
  • Stamp 3 holders are highly disadvantaged in the Irish employment market and that should not be so. Many careers have suffered unfortunate twists because of this. It is high time equal opportunities are provided to all based on their qualifications, skills, competencies etc., regardless of origin or status. In a world where we demand gender equality in the work place and society, the Stamp 3 rule should not exist.
  • For the free person who are unemployed


2018-09-13 18:30:19 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2018-08-20 08:00:30 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2018-08-18 21:18:06 +0100

500 signatures reached

2018-08-18 09:41:10 +0100

100 signatures reached

2018-08-18 01:48:38 +0100

50 signatures reached

2018-08-17 22:58:16 +0100

25 signatures reached

2018-08-17 22:42:55 +0100

10 signatures reached