Public Policy Bulletin, 21 - 24 February 2021

Feb 21, 2020

The 33rd Dáil convened for the first-time last week, as 48 new TDs and 112 returning TDs took their seats. Other news in this Public Policy Bulletin includes the new UK points-based immigration system and what it will mean for workers in the future.


33rd Dáil convenes as parties put in nominations for next Taoiseach

The 33rd Dáil, comprising 160 elected TDs, convened for the first time on 20 February 2020, since the General Election 2020 wrapped up. The day saw 48 TDs taking their seat for the first time and the rest returning to fulfil their duties as Deputies. With Seán Ó Fearghaíl re-elected as the Ceann Comhairle (chairperson) of Dáil Éireann, parties also put in their individual nominations for the next Taoiseach. The sitting was followed by Leo Varadkar’s visit to the Arás to tender his resignation as Taoiseach, but he has announced that he will continue in a caretaker role until the next government is formed. The Dáil is now adjourned for two weeks until 5 March 2020.

New UK points-based immigration system announced

The UK Government has released a new points-based immigration system which will regulate the flow of workers into the UK and replace existing rules from 1 January 2021, when the country will no longer be subject to European Union regulations.  

The new points-based immigration system will award points for specific skills, professions, salaries or qualifications/attributes, and visas will be awarded to those who gain sufficient points. The UK Government has also said that the new system will not include a visa option for low-skilled migrant workers, but that it will make it easier for higher-skilled workers to get UK visas. Their released Policy Statement says that “employers will need to adjust” to this change, and the overall aim is to end free movement within the EU and introduce an Immigration Bill to implement the points-based system. The Policy Statement also outlines the salary threshold for skilled migrants, which will be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600 for those coming to the UK with a job offer.

The announcement of the system was accompanied by warnings from various advisory groups on the adverse effects it was likely to have on the economy, particularly on sectors such as care, construction and hospitality. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland will not be affected post-Brexit.

Marathon EU Budget negotiations end in stand-still

EU leaders reconvened last week to continue negotiations on setting their seven-year budget from 2021-2027, however the two-day marathon negotiations ended in a standstill.

Following the UK’s departure from the EU as a Member State, the EU-27 were faced with the challenge to plug a €75bn hole in the forthcoming seven-year budget. With Ireland’s priorities lying in maintaining farm spending at current levels, the current proposals under the Common Agricultural Policy to make cuts of up to €53bn are a concern. You can find more information on how the EU budget works on the European Commission’s dedicated website.


You can also view all updates on our Public Policy web centre.