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19 January 2024

Optometrists recommended to be added to critical skills occupation list

The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE) has recommended that optometrists be added to the critical skills occupation list. The recommendation follows DETE's open consultation on all occupations in Ireland and their suitability for inclusion in the list. FODO Ireland submitted
evidence to the consultation arguing for optometrists to be added to the critical skills occupation list.

Listed occupations are deemed vital to growing Ireland's economy. They are highly skilled and in high demand, yet in short supply.

The profession's listing would mean that optometrists from outside the EEA could apply for a critical skills employment permit rather than a general employment permit.

Critical skills employment permits mean:

  • Employers no longer need to undertake the Labour Market Needs Test before recruiting optometrists from outside the EEA
  • Permit holders can apply for immediate family reunification. Once their family is resident in Ireland, they are eligible to seek any employment and apply for a dependent/partner/spouse employment permit (issued free of charge)
  • Permit holders may apply for permission to reside and work without requiring an employment permit upon completion of the Critical Skills Employment Permit's duration.

The recommendation is being discussed with the Department of Health due to the regulatory registration requirements at CORU.

In the meantime, the role of optometrist remains eligible for the General employment Permit, or, indeed, for the Critical Skills Employment Permit where the employment attracts a salary of over €64,000.

Dan Hodgson, FODO Ireland's head of policy and public affairs, said: "The government's recognition that optometrists are critical members of Ireland's workforce, and that they are in short supply, is a step in the right direction toward resolving the current workforce crisis in primary eye care. We are delighted the government has listened to us.

"Being added to the list would mean it is easier for employers to recruit from outside Ireland and easier for optometrists and their families to live and work in Ireland.

"Of course, this would be the first step on our journey to a full workforce to meet the growing needs of service users. There is more we can do, including resolving the incompatible relationship between work permits and CORU registration, training more optometrists in Ireland, and ensuring the multidisciplinary team can meet demand. FODO Ireland will be working on all these issues throughout 2024."

Read the DETE announcement

Read the FODO Ireland consultation submission

Read more about the critical skills employment permit

Read more about Labour Market Needs Test

Please note: This item was update in March 2024 following clarification from DETE - Optometrists have not yet been formally added to the list; optometrists are eligible for the Critical Skills Employment Permit where the employment attracts a salary of over €64,000.




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For more information please contact:
FODO Ireland
FODO Ireland


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