Q&A: Edwina Shanahan of Irish based company Visa First

What is Visa First?

We are an Irish-based company with offices in the US, UK, France, Australia and other parts of the world. We organise short-stay and business visas for people travelling all over the world. Short trips are for those looking to stay in a country for up to 90 days. We also organise work permits, permanent residency and new business start-up applications. We deal with a broad range of visas and permits and have teams dedicated to each facility.

What are the options for business owners when travelling abroad?

It depends on the country. For instance in the US there is an E-2 investor visa for people who may want to go out and invest in part of a business or start a business there. That visa can give the person two years to move back and forth and, if they so choose, lead to something more permanent. For Australia, self-sponsorship has been a particularly popular visa in the past few years. We would help people to register the business over there and develop a business plan for emigration services, who would look for that sort of information before moving on a visa. That visa would be different from a start-up business visa, which can ask the applicant to have up to half a million Australian dollars of funds for visa approval.

On the flip-side of that, what is there for people looking to come to Ireland?

For people coming into Ireland there is, of course, the work permit application. These can range from temporary short-term to long-term visas. Somebody who needs to come to Ireland to be trained on a particular piece of machinery can be granted a 90-day work visa to come into the country. For somebody looking to move here on a longer, more permanent basis there are visa and green cards for that too. However, it is important to note that when you hire somebody from outside the country there is a requirement that you must pay them a minimum of €30,000 annually. Green card applications also need the skilled person to give a list of skilled jobs. This means applicants must have certain skill types to obtain the visa.

Are we lacking in skills here?

People often ask us, ‘why can’t we give people here a job?’ and the honest answer is that we are lacking the skills, right now, to fill them. People are being asked to come here because the skill set to fill the jobs we have, just cannot be matched domestically. However, there is a stipulation for some visas, that half the workforce of the sponsoring company must also have at least 50% of its employees as EU/EEA nationals.

To find out more go to www.visafirst.ie 


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