Yesterday I attended an event in the CHQ Building in Dublin organised by the Reform Stamp 3 Campaign that highlighted the challenges faced by Stamp 3 permit holders. How many of you know what a Stamp 3 permit is? I did not know what Stamp 3 permit was or the problems that their holders face.

A Stamp 3 permit is given to the spouses of non-EU citizens who have a job in Ireland and this also includes countries like America and Canada and not just countries in Africa and Asia. If you have a Stamp 3 permit you are not allowed to work, but you can look for work. If you are then offered a job you have to apply for a Stamp 1 permit which can take around 12 weeks and you are not guaranteed that you will get your work permit. Also, a lot of employers don’t know that you can apply for a Stamp 1 permit they assume that Stamp 3 permit holders can’t apply for work.

The people with Stamp 3 permits are highly skilled people with third level qualifications that can fill various job vacancies that currently can’t be filled. So why are these people not allowed to look for a job knowing that if they get if a job offer there will be no delays? In other EU countries, this is not an issue, even in the UK where you might think this would be an issue, it isn’t.

One very important sector to the Irish Economy is Startups but Stamp 3 permit holders who want to setup a startup have to find an EU partner, apply for a Stamp 1 permit and hope that it gets issued.  We are talking about people who can create new jobs via a startup or fill highly skilled jobs that can’t be filled.

Nadia Borcharskaia who has a Stamp 3 permit moved to Ireland nearly 3 years ago when her husband who is a data engineer moved here. “I came to Ireland with my husband who has a critical skills permit, under the impression I would be able to continue my career as well. But I have faced barrier after barrier trying to enter the workforce. Employers think I am unable to work because I hold a Stamp 3 permit and often won’t even shortlist me for a job. I also know others who have managed to get an interview and in some cases secure a job, but who have lost that job due to the long delays in processing the work permit. “

The Permits Foundation a not for profit initiative which is based in the Netherlands, supported by more than 40 international companies and organisations. They work with governments to bring about best practice legislation that enables dual careers in the global workspace. They are working with the Reform Stamp 3 Campaign to support Stamp 3 spouses seeking direct work access in Ireland. Further information can be found on their website.

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