Does that employment permit sound too good to be true? It probably is.
Over the last few weeks I have been contacted by a number of clients about an employment permit they had applied for that allowed the holder work for any company in Ireland. Unfortunately these clients had been taken in by a relatively sophisticated scam. In some variations of the scam the permit holder would need to resign from the 'employment' once the permit was obtained which they were 'advised' would allow them seek employment and work for other companies. In this example it appears the company seeking the employment permit sets up a shelf company to apply for the permit but there is no job offer or job as required by the Employment Permits Acts.
These scams seem to be targeting Irish residents who are nearing being 'timed out' from student permissions who must find a job offer and obtain an employment permit to remain in Ireland or find another suitable immigration permission. In another reported case it appears that the 'advisors' may have been posing as lawyers to dupe people into using their 'services'. The Law Society of Ireland have since published a notice on this firm.
In the examples reported to me clients had been provided with a letter from the 'advisors' stating the holder had a right to work and quoted a ' MyWork-ID '. A MyWork-ID is a number generated on the employment permits application system that allows you resume work on the system but it is not an Employment Permit number as it merely means a permit application has been commenced on the system.
Some tips on employment permits and how to avoid getting caught by this scam.
1. The DBEI has an excellent overview of the employment permits regime in Ireland set out in a FAQ document. Check this if you have suspicions that the magic employment permit sounds too good to be true.
2. Check any legal firm's details on the Law Society of Ireland website. In the reported case above the advisors allegedly held themselves out as solicitors or barristers. Generally speaking the public do not have direct access to barristers as they are specialists in litigation and advocacy and will be briefed by a solicitor in appropriate cases.
3. Use an experienced solicitor or firm with experience in employment permits and immigration as these are specialist areas and require complex advice to properly advise a client especially one who is timed out as a student or who has limited immigration options.