The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney, has announced a new scheme to grant working rights to the spouses of people from outside the European Union.

However, the changes will only benefit what is described as certain skilled nationals from outside the EU and the European Economic Area, which includes Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The initiative, which helps husbands and wives of immigrant workers, is designed to help address particular labour shortages.