No legislative standing for €30k salary limit says Court of Appeal in case of Pakistani national
By Chinedu Onyejelem
The Court of Appeal has ruled that Minister of Jobs has no legal standing to refuse a work permit to a Pakistani national because the job pays only €18,000 annually.
The landmark refusal follows the minister’s decision to turn down work permits for non-EEA nationals whose employment would pay less than €30,000 per annum.
That policy, which also extends to a number of jobs deemed ineligible by the department, was introduced as a means to make lower-paid roles available for Irish people to return to work.
However, in the case of Ali v Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Court of Appeal ruled that the policy unfairly excluded a Pakistani national who has lived in Ireland legally since 2007.
The man, who previously worked legally under the conditions of his student visa, was refused a permit after completing his studies for full-time work as a sales support assistant at a salary of €18,000.
The court heard that granting him a work permit would have permitted his wife and child in Pakistan to join him in the State.
In a decision that could have huge implications for the State, Justice Gerard Hogan – who led an appeal panel with Justice Peter Kelly and Justice Sean Ryan – reversed the minister’s decision and found that the High Court had erred in its rejection of the case.
The previous ruling was based on the court’s interpretation of overlapping requirements of the Employment Permits Act 2006.
However, Justice Hogan of the Appeals Court said there were a “potential conflict, overlap and inconsistency” between the workings of Section 12, which entitles the minister to refuse certain applications, and Section 14, which grants the minister powers to make orders lasting no more than two years, stating minimum remuneration for work permits.
The Court of Appeals added that any future refusal along the same lines must be done in accordance with criteria specified by a statutory instrument approved by the Oireachtas.