For American citizens hoping to live and work in Europe, heading to Ireland is one of the most popular routes to take. For American citizens with Irish grandparents, there is the option to gain Irish citizenship through birth or descent, but this is a complex process. In order to help more Americans and non-EU citizens to move to Ireland, one Dublin senator is proposing making the Irish Tier 2 visa scheme much easier.

In a letter to Tánaiste and the Minister for Business and Enterprise, Frances Fitzgerald, Dublin Senator Neale Richmond called for the shortage occupations list to be expanded. This would make it easier for more non-EU citizens to move to Ireland for work. In the letter, Richmond explained that only those in highly skilled professions are currently eligible for a Tier 2 visa in Ireland. He argues that there are many categories that are currently excluded that would be beneficial for the Irish economy, including hospitality workers, mechanics, electricians and carpenters.

According to Richmond, there are areas in Ireland that are currently experiencing chronic shortages of workers. He writes: “The current lists are understandably focused on highly skilled, high-wage, occupations that need to be filled, but it’s clear that there are many other, perhaps lower-wage, occupations that need to be added to this list in order to allow businesses to continue to provide high levels of service at competitive rates.” It is understood that that Ireland’s immigration department is currently in the process of reviewing the shortage occupation list.

Interest in Irish visas has increased in recent months as a result of the Brexit vote as more and more people are looking to Ireland as a pathway into Europe. British citizens hoping to hold on to their European citizenship have also been looking to secure Irish citizenship. As the UK is looking to further restrict the already restrictive Tier 2 visa route, it is anticipated that Ireland will become a more attractive prospect for those hoping to relocate.