709. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Justice if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the healthcare sector is losing out on a number of healthcare professionals who are foreign nationals due to their visas expiring while they are waiting for their employee permits to come through; if her attention has been further drawn to the fact that many of these healthcare professionals are having applications for extensions to their visas denied; if she has plans to examine the prospect of a bridging visa for such applications from healthcare professionals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51224/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy James Browne): Any person who is seeking to travel to Ireland for the purpose of employment, including in the healthcare sector, can only apply to my Department for a visa once they have applied for and been granted an employment permit by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Any healthcare workers who are currently in the State and with a permission that is due to expire, will have benefitted from the final temporary extension of immigration and international protection previously announced to 15 January 2022. They are legally permitted to remain until that date, even if their Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card has expired and they are awaiting a new one. Renewal is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions will continue to apply.
They should either register or renew their permission by 15 January 2022 to ensure that they have a qualifying permission to remain in the State after that date, if that is their intention.