Some 1,021 stamp 4 support letters have been issued to non-EEA doctors under a new process that reduced the qualifying period.
Stamp 4 is an immigration permission that allows non-EEA nationals to work in Ireland without an employment permit and provides their spouses with full access to the labour market. Since September 2021, all categories of stamp 4 holders are deemed equivalent to EU/EEA nationals during the medical training selection process following a policy change by the Department of Health.
Under changes announced in March 2022 by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), non-EEA doctors can qualify for stamp 4 after two, rather than five, years in Ireland.
According to the DETE, there have been 28 refusals under the process. The main reason was the applicant did not have the required time spent working on an employment permit. Several applications were also rejected as doctors applied when the scheme was closed.
The application process was opened for two periods during 2022 and the scheme is “currently closed”, according to a DETE spokesperson.
Last year, the Department of Justice created a new stamp category (stamp 1H) for doctors in HSE and HSE-funded agencies and private hospitals. With this stamp, a doctor’s partner/spouse becomes eligible for stamp 1G, which allows labour market access.
Doctors who complete two years’ service under stamp 1H become eligible for a stamp 4 support letter from the DETE.