May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the measure his Department is taking with regard to potential changes to the J1 visa system in legislation currently being considered in the United States Congress.
Reply from Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: The welfare of the Irish abroad in general, and especially the position of undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States, remains an important priority for the Government. The Government have also attached great importance to providing for future flows of migration between Ireland and the United States through the extension of the so called E3 visa scheme to include Irish citizens. The Government is continuing to follow closely the progress of the Senate bill on comprehensive immigration reform that is currently under consideration and which would address these issues.
The Senate Immigration Reform Bill (S.744) is a very extensive piece of draft US legislation that contains a comprehensive and complex set of reforms across the US immigration system. The Government has already welcomed the inclusion of provisions which would provide a solution for the undocumented Irish and opportunities for future flows of migration between our two countries. However, all of its provisions, including those in relation to the J1 programme, are at the early stage of the legislative process and it is too early to indicate the timing and final shape of any legislation.
The Government greatly values the current provision of the J1 programme and believes it is important that the programme be as accessible as possible and that efforts be made to ensure high levels of uptake. Our Embassy in Washington remains in very close contact with the US Congress and the Administration to ensure that the interests of all Irish citizens are advanced in any immigration legislation that is passed.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection her strategy to tackle long-term youth employment.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: The official labour market figures published by the CSO indicated that the number of young unemployed at the end of 2012 was 59,000, of whom 27,300 were long-term (over one year) unemployed. The number of young long term unemployed represented a fall of 8,300 on the figure of 35,600 at the end of 2011.
In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle all forms of unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth. Past experience suggests that youth unemployment, which tends to rise relatively rapidly in a downturn, can be expected to fall relatively rapidly during the recovery.
The Government is also implementing a number of programmes to assist young unemployed persons and keep young jobseekers close to the labour market. There are five main approaches being taken to tackle youth unemployment: education, training, job search assistance/guidance, work experience, and encouraging job creation. These actions range across a number of Departments and Agencies and include:
Answered on May 28, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to his Department’s monitoring of the South-East Employment Action Plan, the number of ideas have been funded in Waterford since its launch in January 2012; the amount of funding for Waterford ideas that have been awarded to-date.
Reply from Minister Richard Bruton: The South East Employment Action Plan has a number of recommendations which the relevant agencies and stakeholders are charged with implementing. The following are examples of agency funding provided to individuals or companies in Waterford and in the South East since January 2012 to develop new business ideas.
Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme is a rapid incubation programme designed to provide hands-on support and management development for entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business.
Twenty promoters were accepted on to the 2012 programmes run in Waterford IT and Carlow IT. All were approved a €15,000 scholarship from Enterprise Ireland to develop business ideas which can be spun out as knowledge based companies to provide jobs and export sales. Graduates are expected to go on to set up new businesses in the South East following the programme.
Enterprise Ireland launched a pilot Competitive Feasibility Fund for new start-ups in the South East in January 2012. Over 40 applications were received with 14 high quality projects being approved for funding. The total fund was approximately €200,000. To date, one of the projects has been approved High Potential Start Up funding. Enterprise Ireland continues to work with innovative start-up companies at all stages of development and growth within the region.
Since 2007, Enterprise Ireland has approved a total of 707 Innovation Vouchers to companies in the South East with 287 approved to Waterford based companies (as of March 2013). Waterford has the fourth highest number of approved vouchers since 2007.
In addition to the above, the Waterford County and the Waterford City Enterprise Boards have both continued to use the funding available under the European Globalisation Fund and from my Department to provide supports for micro-enterprises within the County. From the 1st January 2012 to date, the two CEBs have funded 51 projects in the amount of €865,270 from the funding allocated by my Department, supporting the creation of 98 jobs, and funded a further 6 other projects in the amount of €110,462 with the financial support provided by the European Globalisation Fund.
Work is on-going on the implementation of the South-East Employment Action Plan recommendations, with agencies and stakeholders working together to maximise benefits for the region. The South East Forum, established to oversee the implementation of the Action Plan, and which I met most recently in March this year, will continue to examine ways that would lead to job creation and investment opportunities in the South East.
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of Green Card applications that have been approved to date under the Special Assignee Relief Programme in each of the categories legislated for, that is jobs with annual remuneration of €60,000 or more, and jobs with annual salaries of €30,000 – €59,999.
Reply from Minister Richard Bruton: The ‘Green Card’ Employment Permit is designed to attract highly skilled people into the labour market with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residence in the State. Eligible occupations under this type of permit are deemed to be critically important to growing Ireland’s economy, are highly demanded and highly skilled, and in significant shortage of supply in our labour market...
Tuesday, 22 January, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will outline his Department’s work regarding efforts to pass legislation in the U.S. Congress to legalise the undocumented Irish.
Reply from Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: The Government continues to attach particular importance to the welfare of the Irish abroad in general and especially to the position of undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States. A resolution of the situation for undocumented Irish migrants will continue to be pursued by the Government in our ongoing contacts with the US Administration and Congress.
The advice of Ireland’s friends and contacts within the US Administration and Congress has long been that comprehensive reform of the US immigration system and procedures is likely to be the only manner by which such a resolution can be achieved. The prospects for such reform would appear to have advanced in the wake of President Obama’s re-election. Through our Embassy in Washington and in close liaison with Irish-American community representatives, our contacts with the US Administration and Congress will intensify with a view to ensuring that the interests and concerns of undocumented Irish immigrants are captured in any future legislative deal in this area that emerges. In this regard, I raised the issue with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during our bilateral meeting on 6 December last and recalled our strong support for comprehensive immigration legislation and the passage of E3 visas for Irish citizens.
Much further debate and discussion is likely to be required within the US political system as to what any future legislative deal might comprise. It is therefore not possible at this stage to specify its contents or identify an exact timescale in which these may become clear but the area will continue to receive the Government’s close attention over the period ahead.
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.