THE number of work permits issued to non-EU nationals here has plummeted in the last six months as the jobs crisis here has grown.
Figures released by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment also show that some 2,236 applications to work here were rejected last year.
A large proportion of these would have been refused on the grounds that there were not enough jobs to justify allowing more workers into the country.
Tanaiste Mary Coughlan's department has begun a review of the work permit system in light of the economic crisis. Officials are now considering at least partially closing the door to immigrants which had been flung open during the Celtic Tiger era.