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Open Borders for Tech Talent – Issue #2

Open the borders of Ireland to the world’s best & brightest english-speaking tech talent 

Summary: By allowing up to 75,000 work visas per year to highly-educated english-speaking technology workers into the Irish workforce, we can generating up to hundreds of thousands of jobs per year in the Irish economy, because every manufacturing job in an economy generates 5-6 jobs in the local community.

Background

Ireland has staked an important claim on one of the most critical areas of industry in the world.  Software & information technology.  And, in terms of Europe, up to now it has won, hands down by winning the European headquarters of the leading IT businesses of the world, from Microsoft and Facebook to Google and Intel and Apple and EMC.  It has created a critical mass like no other in Europe.

These are growth businesses that will continue to grow and gain importance in the next 20 years, just as they have grown in the last 20 years.  So it is hard to understate how strategic and how powerfully Ireland has performed in attracting this talent and these companies to Ireland in the first place.

Furthermore, with this critical mass of the tens of thousands of successful ICT workers in their Irish home, the potential has been created for a great number of businesses to be spun-off, and entrepreneurs to create new businesses with the expertise that the Irish Software industry has developed in Ireland.

The risk, of course, is that we’ve been so successful in creating software businesses that we don’t realize that we’ve run out of oxygen in the room.  Unlike other manufacturing industries, where line workers don’t necessarily have a very specialized skill set that is hard to replicate, the software industry does require specialized talent in large numbers.  The factory workers of the information economy require not just willing and able hands, but willing and able, trained brains.

Speak to any CEO of an Irish technology firm and they will tell you of the lack of supply of skilled technology workers.  Recruiting firms in Ireland estimate that there are approximately 20,000 unfilled positions in ICT as of this writing (April 2012).  The export sector for Ireland is booming, with a record high trade surplus of €44.7 billion in 2011, up 4% over 2010.  Preliminary trade data from 2012 shows this export growth expanding further.

Unfortunately people in other parts of the world think that the Irish economy is shrinking, not growing, and so people are not coming to Ireland from the rest of the EU due to fears about the economy crashing.

To these people, we have to highlight the opportunities that exist in Ireland, we have to show them that while there are challenges in the Irish economy, the unprecedented accomplishments we have in technology overweigh those disadvantages.

Up to a point, the Irish can produce these software engineers, product managers, biotech workers, etc.  And we can accelerate and increase the production of talented software engineers by beginning development of math & sciences at earlier ages, and beginning programming courses at age 12 or so in our schools or through programs like CoderDojo.  But just as it is unrealistic to expect that everyone will be good at software (and other technical fields such as biochemistry, genetic engineering, electrical engineering, etc), we can’t expect the small Irish population of only 4.3 million people to churn out enough world-class product engineers to be able to design world-class products for the world’s 6.8 billion population.

It’s instructive to look at Silicon Valley, in the United States.  Despite having a population of 320 million people, the city of San Jose, California, at the heart of Silicon Valley, is composed of 40% immigrants to the United States.  People come the world over to be part of Silicon Valley… from China, from India, from Africa and from Ireland.

If we want to truly leverage the great start we have made in technology, Ireland must do the same in opening our borders to tech talent.

Once a company is embedded in a local city, it is very hard for it to move.  But the easiest way to force a company to move is to starve it of the oxygen it needs to survive.  The oxygen is the workforce, and if the talent isn’t there to create the software or hardware products, then the company will be forced to move.

Two things happen when talent is too tightly stretched.  Bidding wars erupt over local talent until such a point that the labor market is so expensive that only the richest and most successful of companies can compete for talent.  Other companies will still need to pay these “market” wages for talent, and that will, in turn, drive a lot of companies out of business.  In this way, if there is not sufficient talent allowed into or created in Ireland, not only do we strangle the industry, but there is no capability for new start-up companies to start, grow and survive as they won’t be able to sustain the economics of high wages without the support of a multinational’s access to markets.

What does this mean, “world-class design engineers”?

Just as every doctor is not a brain surgeon, not every engineer or programmer is a design engineer.  Ireland needs it’s share of local general practitioners (doctors), but it also needs surgeons.  And these people generally would tend to graduate at the top 1-3% of their class. Export-oriented software development companies need uncommon design engineering talent as well if their products are going to compete against the best products offered by competitor companies from throughout the world.

What about Ireland’s own talent?

With a population of only 4.5 million people in the Republic of Ireland, 1-3% of our graduating class is only 2,000-3,000 graduates per year.  And a surprisingly large portion of those do not choose to study engineering or technical degrees that would help manufacturing companies that are the mainstay of the Irish economy… many instead choose service industries like accounting or law or medicine.  These service industries, though necessary to support an economy, generally don’t have a large multiplier effect on making the economy grow faster.

Plenty of other technical graduates are needed, for a wide variety of other exciting roles in supporting the development of markets, implementing software products, etc., but top design engineers are particularly vital.

So that’s one of the reasons why companies like Google in Ireland import up to 80% of their talent from outside of Ireland.  Yes, they create lots of jobs locally, but they still need talent from a larger pool of population.

What about growing more of our own talent?

This is definitely a necessary component, no matter what.  And the same people behind Open Ireland are also behind the wildly successful CoderDojo program, which is currently generating the next generation of superstar tech talent in Ireland.  Over 2,000 kids meet weekly in over two dozen locations in Ireland to learn programming and design.  This is a powerful start to the revitalization of Ireland’s development of programming talent.  Surprisingly, there was no formal program of programming/software development at 2nd level in Ireland before CoderDojo. (Although Coderdojo isn’t part of the Irish education system, the audience is largely 2nd level students).

While it will take another ten years for these kids to work their way through the system, growing more of our own talent will be a viable source of meaningful careers for a lot of our children.

What about retraining?

Some portion of the labor pool for our expanding technology sector can come from retraining.  But just as it would be expensive or impractical to retrain a construction worker to become a medical doctor, it is expensive and impractical to retrain workers to become software design engineers.  It takes years of effort and some innate preference and talent for someone to become a great technical talent.

That said, retraining is still a viable option for up to perhaps 10-15% of the demand.  Not for software engineers, most likely, but for project managers, product managers, marketing and other supporting roles.

Since it is well-known that every Western country is looking for more of the relatively rare talent of world-class design engineers, why should Ireland succeed in this where others haven’t?
  1. Ireland speaks English
    • English is the international language of tech talent.  The programming languages used to program all computers are all based on English, and the technical resources are more available in English than in any other language, so many college courses in technology, even in places like China, teach in English, and all technical talent learn some English on the way to becoming proficient in their technology.
    • Few other EU countries have this advantage.
  2. Outside the United States, Ireland already has a critical mass greater than any other country of important headquarters with R&D staff
    • From Google and Facebook and IBM and HP and EMC and Intel and Apple on down the line, no other small geographic area has the concentration of the world’s leading technology brands.
  3. Ireland has a progressive R&D tax credit, which stretches the R&D investment further in Ireland
  4. Ireland is an attractive country to move to
    • Politically, it has never been an imperial power or military threat to any other country; Emotionally, it is a warm and welcoming place; and geographically it has some of the world’s most beautiful countryside, a very mild climate, and a good network of access via airways to the world.
Doesn’t the Irish government already have a policy of allowing technical talent into Ireland through a visa program?

While well-intentioned, the existing programs for allowing technical talent into Ireland are unfortunately flawed and bureaucratic, especially for Ireland’s own companies.  Even though it is well-known that there is a massive shortage of tech talent world-wide, every new worker that is brought into Ireland needs to go through a several-months-long effort involving proving that there is no talent available in Ireland. This involves running advertisements in national newspapers, posting job openings to government websites that don’t actually result in qualified candidates applying, and in some cases paying wages at above-market rates to foreign workers to allow them to qualify.  Despite all these hurdles, even perfectly executed applications are routinely denied by the civil servants performing these functions, who believe they are doing the bidding of their Ministers in doing so.  Smaller companies cannot navigate this labyrinth well, and no company can do it in an agile or inexpensive way.

The goal in an economy, to help it grow, is to make the necessary work of an economy a frictionless experience.

As the Irish government has proven previously, however, in establishing Ireland as one of the best countries in the world when it comes to setting up new companies (#13 worldwide out of 183 economies), when you eliminate friction, you can draw in new businesses and help the economy grow faster.

Unfortunately, the process of getting new technical talent, from abroad, in Ireland comes with a huge amount of friction.  And that is not helping our businesses grow.

Why would this policy of allowing up to 75,000 tech talent into Ireland help us? Why wouldn’t this talent be going to the United States instead?

If Ireland created a set of policies that allowed top tech talent into Ireland, we would be the only Western english-speaking country in the world to do so.  This would be a massive advantage.  The United States currently makes it even more difficult, and more expensive, to get a worker into the US than Ireland does.

In the United States, it has gotten so bad that a group of investors (Blueseed) are buying a cruise ship and docking it 12 miles off the coast of San Francisco to remain in international waters, with the goal of being able to have visitors helicopter in to the ships to visit the staff of IT workers and start-ups on the ship.

Even if the United States dramatically improved their policies on allowing tech talent to come into the US, however, there would still be a need for Europe to have a technical hub.  And why can’t Ireland be the Silicon Valley of Europe?  Right now, it’s only because of the lack of people.

In fact, US and EU companies actively seek out and set up operations specifically in areas where there is a plentiful supply of tech talent.  So by drawing more tech talent to Ireland, we’ll be creating more reason for more companies to make their presence in Ireland larger.

As Ireland has gotten stronger in technology, the talent pool has gotten tighter.  This has created a tendency for Irish companies to begin outsourcing some of their work to other economies.  However, as anyone who has done outsourcing of R&D knows, the costs of running a large and continuous outsourcing effort are much higher than it would first appear.  It would be better to employ talented workers locally, where they would be paid and taxed locally, and where these dollars would contribute to the growth of the Irish economy.

  • #1 written by Michael Skelly  1 year ago

    One barrier which could be removed is the Irish policy on US driving licences currently not permitted to be carried over to an Irish licence. (Irish Licences are fine in the US but not the other way around)

    Was talking last night with someone who just transfered from SF to a Dublin office. Having driven for the past 15 years back home; this was a big deal for him.

    Americans highly depend on their cars back home, everyone gets their test as soon as their turn 16. Coming to work and live in a foreign country but having to resit their driving test and do the 12 hours of expensive demoralising and unneccessary driving instructions must be tough, and could be turning away a lot of good talent.

    • #2 written by George Dillon  1 year ago

      Michael Skelly: “Irish Licences are fine in the US”. Have you ever been in the US? Foreign licenses are accepted only in the case of people on vacation.

  • #3 written by John Breslin  1 year ago

    At the very least a US license could transfer to an Irish license with the restriction for automatic cars only (we have those types of licenses here already) – I am not sure is that why they don’t carry over but it would seem to make sense.

  • #4 written by Andrea  1 year ago

    It appears the information in this article is not accurate.

    Jobs.ie has only about 400 IT jobs advertised

    There is an interesting discussion on politics.ie dismantling the position this article has postulated.
    http://www.politics.ie/forum/economy/187357-open-ireland-wants-issue-75000-new-work-visas-per-annum-tech-grads.html

    There are a couple of million people in the EU with IT degree’s who are unemployed. Why would Ireland need to get those workers from outside the EU if the EU is full of unemployed IT workers?

    This does not add up.

    • #5 written by Sean O'Sullivan  1 year ago

      Andrea:
      thanks for your post. I tried to respond to the politics.ie site, but the moderator hasn’t approved my comment yet.

      as you say, a very heated debate over at politics.ie!

      here’s my response to one of the posts there…

      [QUOTE=Expose the lot of them;5245617]Only for one year, after that they can move to another employer, provided the new employer secures a work permit/green card for the employee. There is no problem getting a green card provided the salary is in excess of €60k.[/QUOTE]

      Not true. SOSventures’ Bill Liao, for example, was denied three times even though he had a salary above >>€60k and had previously co-founded major tech companies that became public companies.

      Other people (other than you) state that salary levels over €30k result in work visas being issued. The experience of the tech companies I’ve dealt with and talked to on this issue is the same as my own. Visas are routinely denied despite being at the €30k+, €40k+, and higher levels like the >>€60k+ level as well.

      It’s true places like the United States also have “ridiculously strict” visa policies, and it’s not just Ireland that has problems with the supply of high-tech talent.

      re: job sites, most companies do not advertise jobs on all the different websites out there, and most companies do not advertise every position that they have open.

      You state jobs.ie has only 400 jobs listed. I haven’t used that site, so I trust your numbers… but IrishJobs.ie lists 4-5k tech jobs just in the IT sector (not including other tech sectors), and that’s just one website. Computerjobs.ie only lists >1k jobs… some of which overlap and some which don’t. monster.ie, all the newspaper sites, fas.ie, all these places have job listings, none of which is comprehensive.

      Why don’t computer companies advertise every position on every website every week? Because it costs money for each advert they place. If there are 4 openings for a Java programmer, only one may be listed in order to keep the costs down. Or more likely, zero may be listed if the company doesn’t have a good experience advertising on that website, or if in fact there are so few qualified people who apply that it just isn’t worth advertising on web sites at all… Many companies go direct to colleges, others advertise directly overseas, or on linked-in, Facebook, or other places that work.

      re: 75,000 visas, this could go beyond just IT workers and include ALL the technical fields that our high-tech industry needs, from pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies to some of the specialist areas in medicine or finance.

      re: 75,000 visas, this is more of an aspirational goal then today’s need. If we had a society that could draw in 75,000 tech talent every year, than our economy would be doing incredibly well. There is no need to fear such a strong economy.

      that said, a great debate is going on politics.ie, I’m glad to see it. As usual in politics, more heat than light, but I’m thankful for those that throw in some light and insight above. As for the “plenty of workers available in EU” argument, it’s a nice argument, but it hasn’t been the experience of most. For some companies that can pay far above standard, perhaps Google, yes… But this doesn’t help an industry thrive, it can actually damage an industry to have wage rates which are so high that people can no longer afford the software. Workers in the IT industry can definitely expect to be paid far more than in other industries, perhaps, but they shouldn’t, on average, be earning so much that companies are going out of business unless they relocate to low-wage areas like India or China.

      As for the poster over there who is continuously arguing that eastern european programmers being superior, etc, there are plenty of bright minds from all over the world. I say, bring them on, come over to Ireland. There are jobs available.

    • #6 written by Deirdre Lillis  1 year ago

      Andrea

      Forfas (Ireland’s policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science and technology) have consistently highlighted the lack of skilled ICT graduates/workers over the last decade. The projections of the skills gap have increased from 2,000 vacancies in the middle of the Celtic Tiger boom, to over 4,000 currently. [Check out their 'Expert Working Group on Skills Needs reports]. This is despite trojan efforts by the higher education sector and others to attract more students into ICT programmes over the last 10 years. In their ICT Action Plan (2011), the Irish Higher Education Authority has called for a doubling of ICT graduates in the next 5 years and as someone who works in this sector, the only way I can see us being able to deliver on this is by attracting international students. On our own, we simply cannot produce enough quality graduates to satisfy current demand.

      I don’t think this initiative precludes the EU, but there are three good reasons to go beyond the EU in my view. One is that 6 of the countries with the largest ICT sectors are outside of the EU. The second is many EU countries are struggling to find highly skilled ICT workers (look at the STEM initiatives in Germany for example). The third is that the ICT sector is inherently multinational/multi-cultural and the more exposure/experience Ireland has of working internationally and with international staff, the stronger the industry (and the country) will be.

      Hope this helps

      Deirdre

    • #7 written by Jane  1 year ago

      Excellent Point

  • #8 written by Expose the lot of them  1 year ago

    You have mentioned one case of a visa (I presume it was a green card application) being denied for a candidate who was being offered a salary in excess of €60K, on what grounds was it denied? Would the granting of the green card result in the company’s workforce being in excess of 50% non-EU. Or was it the case that the person concerned would not in fact be an employee?

    As for the position with salaries below €60k, work permit applications require a labour market test and where the employer claims that no suitable candidate can be sourced within the EU, the non-EU candidate must have certain verifiable education, skills and experience. Can you confirm that those conditions were met. Originally green cards were only available for roles with a salary in excess of €60k, however, this was later changed to allow green cards to be granted, in certain conditions for salaries below this threshold. In my experience green cards are issued provided the application meets the conditions and this includes those for salaries below €60k. Green cards come with an additional cost to the exchequer in that, unlike work permits, the holder of a green card can bring his/her family with him. This results in additional costs in provision of health, education, etc.

    I have had a lot of experience applying for work permits and green cards and have found that the employers who claim that they are being unfairly denied work permits/green cards, in reality are attempting to secure working permission for candidates who are not qualified for the job, who are in Ireland illegally, or where the workforce would become more than 50% non EU.

    I am also aware that the department does not enforce the requirement that the company concerned provide details of how it intends to replace the workpermit/green card holder with an Irish/EU employee.

  • #9 written by Sean O'Sullivan  1 year ago

    (please use your real name when posting here, so we can make sure the dialogue is kept more civil, please?)

    you are mentioning specific cases, and questioning why and on what grounds these visas are denied? I myself find this quite baffling as well, as most times these denials are based on apparently arbitrary things, trivial things, or things which in fact stand in direct contradiction to the laws of Ireland. And in particular when every person in the software development industry in Ireland is aware of the difficulty in finding talent.

    To my eyes, it appears that the policy is to seek every possible avenue to deny the requests of the Irish companies that are seeking work permits of qualified workers from outside the EU. This, however, is spoken from the frustration of a person who is aware of the man-weeks it takes several staff to find technical applicants who are appropriately qualified. So my view may not be viewed positively by those who are inside the department. People who are inside the department may feel that they are being appropriate and in-line with the views of the policy of the government.

    re: my particular company, I’d estimate that 10% of our workforce in Ireland is from outside the EU (although we do have about 10 nationalities, most of them are from inside the EU or have dual citizenship). So that’s not an issue in terms of the rejection rate (not >50%), but thank you for that suggestion. re: the €60k green card issue, yes the person was an employee. So, thanks for your suggestions but I’m still baffled, after years of effort in applying for work visas, as to why they are nearly always repetitively denied.

    I have found many other companies echo my concerns and complaints, and that’s one reason why dozens of educational institutions, industry organizations and hundreds of individuals have spoken out and signed up in support of Open Ireland.

    I am however, glad that you find no problem in getting work permits and green cards. If it’s not too revealing, can you tell me if you are from a multinational or from an Irish company (SME) or a state organization/educational institution?
    best,
    Sean

  • #10 written by Brendan Palmer  1 year ago

    There is an interesting issue highlighted by the post of Nemesiscorporation on Politics.ie. S/He claims that the posts could be filled by EU workers. This is one of the “get out” clauses that could be used by the naysayers of this initiative and needs to be addressed

    Let’s suppose that there are enough job seekers in the EU for these positions, two questions
    1. Have the positions been widely advertised in the EU?
    2. Why are EU citizens not applying?

    Could it be that the perception of Ireland’s lifestyle does not appeal to other EU citizens, who may feel that coming to Ireland is a step down in life (Ireland has been portrayed as a basket case across the EU for the last 3.5 years) whereas, people from other parts of the world may see Ireland as a step up in life, with access to the EU as an added bonus.

    I think the trickledown effect of filling high level vacant posts has such an upside that we should do all in our power to fill these posts and like all problems facing any business, the issues preventing implementation should be defined, solutions identified and promoted in a positive and assertive manner.

    We most specifically should not allow “The EU won’t let us” be a reason for not making this happen.

  • #11 written by Jane  1 year ago

    manufacturing companies that are the mainstay of the Irish economy. That is a big laugh. Which ones??? the american ones who create a few jobs and hold all their profits in the IFSC and invest zero in the economy. Apart from them we haven’t got much of an economy because our resources (oil and gas) have been stolen, our fishing has been stolen by the eu and our farmers get paid not to work the land. The reason “we” (they) need FDI is to line their pockets. Trickle down my ass

  • #12 written by Anthony Binder  1 year ago

    -”every manufacturing job in an economy generates 5-6 jobs in the local community.”

    Most ludicrous unsubstantiated nonsense.
    Give 1 single evidence backing this!

    The major part of the Irish efforts to increase the population should of course be concentrated in the areas which supports the major part of the economy, and that is in the service sector.
    I could see a great economic recovery if Ireland recruits students. Cutting down the tuition fees, and open up the universities to both EU and non-EU students would 1) save loads of SME´s from the bankruptcy wave that affects the housing market, especially the small landlords owning apartments on the letting market, that now is really the Irish housing and financial crisis going on.
    2) create thousands of jobs in retail, banking, education, publishing, recreation, entertainment, travel, utility, furnishing, food/drink, hospitality, health care, mobile phone, child care, infra structure, etc etc etc, the list can go on for ever, and THESE are the sectors that drives or breakes the Irish economy.

    Dropped tuition fees and a well structured housing coordination for foreign uni students would be one thing, there is of course many other things out there.
    Investment in specialist health care research and treatment could of course put Ireland on the world map for treatment, or any other investment in specialised sectors within the service framework.

    To have a population that in TOTAL is smaller than the just the urban part of China´s graduates that take their doctorate degree in technincal engineering ANNUALLY and still live in a merkantilistic and protectionistic economical illusion that might have had a validity back in the medieval city states of Europe back in the 16th century, that is appalling.

    Get real, substantiate your opinions with facts, and address the problem in accordance with the economy.

    Anthony Binder

    • #13 written by Sean O'Sullivan  1 year ago

      Anthony:
      Thanks for your opinion.

      re: one single evidence backing this (generates 5-6 jobs in local community), there are legion. This is well known. I’d intended to document this better myself, I have a few dozen URLs, but I have asked a couple of economists to do it for me, and they haven’t put together their papers yet. It’s a natural question and you are right to ask it. The reason I haven’t documented it better is because of lack of time and because it is a well-known statistic.

      There are other opinions on this, of course, some estimate it is as low as 3 jobs generated for every manufacturing job brought to a community. But all are very additive to our economy.

      Your other suggestions are interesting.

      Anyone find some URLs to help Anthony, please?
      Best,
      Sean

  • #14 written by James Maguire  1 year ago

    @ Sean O’Sullivan

    Anthony is correct, your talking about manufacturing jobs, he is talking about IT.

    Your creating a strawman argument, the reason you or the economists can’t do it is your comparing apples with oranges.

    To state an IT position filled from abroad creates even 3 jobs is ridiculous.

    Your arguments are valid talking about manufacturing, but manufacturing isn’t IT.

    You obviously don’t work in IT or you would know this.

  • #15 written by Deirdre Lillis  1 year ago

    Hi all,
    I might be missing something here, but isn’t creating even one highly skilled, well paid job in Ireland a good thing :-) ?

    There are even some IT people who have been known to have a life and who get out every now and again to spend their money in the local economy!

    Deirdre

  • #16 written by Michael Carty  1 year ago

    Why isn’t there a concerted emphasis by Government / IT companies in providing focused, business-driven IT “crash” courses centred on the specific software development technical skills required by companies? Too much emphasis is placed on lamenting the skills shortage in Ireland. Companies and government agencies both urgently need to put their money where their mouth is.

    Many 3rd level courses often take too long to complete and unfortunately many are, arguably, not dynamic or focused enough to accomodate the real skills shortages. Also, companies should be willing to invest in training/upskilling rather than just “lazily” expecting the exact skillset to be there waiting for them. Companies need to show more flexibility.

    Many computing graduates who have strong work ethic and are willing to upskill are turned down by recruitment agents and companies because they don’t have the required skillset, e.g., those who graduated 10-20 years ago. Such personnel seem to be blatantly overlooked by the media even though they have obtained solid degrees and work experience. I am personally aware of 2 leading recruitment agencies who have blatantly ignored (not even replied to their CV and cover letter) a computing graduate from the mid-90s because they don’t, on paper, provide an exact match to job specs.

    Who is genuinely looking after these people? As a start, wouldn’t it make more sense to target those who have some experience in software development rather than just “giving up” on the them completely? More emphasis should be placed on the individual applying for a particular job rather than obsessing over the skills they do and don’t have.

    Where the hell is SOLAS (reincarnation of FAS)? There is a serious opening for an intelligent, business needs-driven agency to harness the talent that already exists in this country by delivering specific training / upskilling initiatives to address the skills shortage. What, if anything, is being done about this?

  • #17 written by Owen  1 year ago

    Ireland is suffering this shortage as a result of more than a decade of outsourcing – you reap what you sow. The numbers graduating with BSc in computer science, electronics & mathematics is low for a reason – there are/were better paying jobs selling / tiling houses or working for the public sector for a long time. It is changing but will not be a lightswitch change. If you flood the market with 75,000 immigrants then you will depress the pay rates and discourage school leavers from science courses. This is a negative feedback loop and will not benefit Ireland in any way, but will benefit shareholders and venture capitalists in the short term.

  • #18 written by Bill O'Riordan  1 year ago

    I’ve decided to give away all of the 200 or so “patentable” ideas I’ve come up with in the last year in a bid to spur us on in Ireland to start inventing new things. (I classify Irish here as anyone currently looking out the window at the rain)

    My dream would be that the Irish suddenly became known as a country of mad craic inventors who were sponsored by a unique government inititive to start coming up with new gadgets, gimmicks and life saving things, that we could sell to the rest of the world.

    I think that there should be a way for anyone who has an idea to go to a government agency and have it discussed, vetted, prototyped, marketed and sold even if that person can only barely afford the bus fare to go to the initial interview about the product or service they’ve thought of. I’ve actually only thought of this new quango right now, and I suppose thats what the enterprise board is for. But its always about the money first here. €200 to register, €2000 to file €500 for advice, €3000 for a protorype, all that kind of thing.

  • #19 written by Owen  1 year ago

    Hi Sean,
    Thank you for posting my earlier comment, which is not supportive of your cause.
    I am intrigued by yours and others lack of success in applying for green cards and the arbitrary refusals. The process was liberalised in 2011 and I went to the trouble of reading the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovations guidelines on applying. The criteria are (as I’m sure you are aware) broadly that your workforce must be less than 50% non EEA after hiring these people, that the job offer must be for a period of two years or more and that the salary is greater than 30k p.a. 30K p.a. is less than the average industrial wage! Not ICT average, general average.

    If you are routinely being denied green cards without adequate explanation (which you are asserting) then this is unfair and you could explore a legal action which I know is expensive but surely not as expensive as the media campaign you are mounting / supporting and if many other companies are in the same position then you could share the costs? Equally if minor clerical errors are causing serial rejection and frustration then representation by lobby groups such as IBEC would be able to have this process streamlined?

    You stated in an earlier comment that “Workers in the IT industry can definitely expect to be paid far more than in other industries,”
    but your company Avego recently had a job posting on fas.ie looking for 5 Java engineers with 5 years experience
    and you were offering €31k p.a. for these positions – it is grossly unrealistic to expect any candidates with those qualifications
    to work for this kind of salary. There are many salary surveys available online specific to the Irish market and they would indicate
    that €40k p.a. would be the lower end of salary for this kind of talent. I am really puzzled by someone with your history of achievement and exposure to the ICT world posting that job offer. More so given the location was in Kinsale which would probably mean relocation for anyone you hired.

    I want the IT industry to grow in Ireland, I work in it and there is not a huge choice of employers where I live, it is in my interest that it grows but I don’t see how further relaxation of the green card system is in the countries interest, this is the short game. I think it is liberal enough but would like to see it working fairly and openly. The campaign to introduce 75,000 migrants seems to be an obtuse reaction to a perhaps broken or inefficent clerical process?

    Rds,
    Owen.

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