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Green cards for financial services professionals on the way Back  
A new Green card scheme is set to widen the labour pool for recruiters. The new employment permit regime for foreign workers which came into operation on February 1st, is aimed at alleviating the skills shortage certain sectors are facing in Ireland.
A new employment permit regime for foreign workers came into operation on February 1st, which is aimed at alleviating the skills shortage certain sectors are facing in Ireland.

Four categories of permits have been introduced:
• The green card scheme
• The work permit
• Intra company transfer permit
• Spousal and dependant permits

The green card scheme should go some way to alleviating the staffing burden financial servieces firms in Ireland are facing, and the development has been welcomed by the industry, coming as it does after the termination of the remittance basis of employment in 2005, which negatively impacted upon financial services firms' abilities to recruit and retain key staff.

Aileen O'Donoghue, director of Financial Services Ireland (FSI) said, 'The introduction of the green card scheme is a very positive and important step for Ireland. The global financial sector is highly competitive and Ireland needs to have access to people from overseas with financial skills in high demand globally. To date, our ability to compete for these key skills with other financial centres was constrained. The new green card system introduced by the Minister has radically and positively altered our ability to attract highly-skilled people from overseas, including risk,funds, legal and accounting professionals'.

She expects that the initiative will assist the financial services sector in addressing current skills gaps in the financial sector much more efficiently, particularly as employment in the financial sector is forecast to increase by a further 75 per cent by 2020.

Green cards will be distributed under the following guidelines:

1)Firstly, where the annual salary (excluding bonuses) on offer is €60,000 or more, the green card permit is available for all occupations, other than those which are contrary to the public interest
2) Secondly, green card permits are available in the annual salary range €30;000 - €59,999 (excluding bonuses) for a restricted number of strategically important occupations.
From a financial services perspective, the 'strategically important occupations' are:

• chartered and certified accountants; actuaries; economists; statisticians; management consultants; business analysts; underwriters; claims assessors and analysts; risk professionals; security specialists; fund and investment management specialists; common law jurisdiction lawyers with experience of the financial services sector; investment funds professionals; fund accountants; fund valuations professionals; fund administrators; custody specialists; transfer agents; hedge fund specialists; compliance specialists; risk specialists; tax experts and legal experts.

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