DUBLIN (Reuters) – Facebook is still planning to “aggressively” increase the workforce at its European headquarters in Ireland, but a company-wide policy allowing permanent remote working from other countries could slow that growth over time, the Irish boss said on Friday.

Ireland’s economy is highly dependent on multinationals, employing around one in eight Irish workers, and any move to facilitate remote working abroad would add to the challenge already posed by a planned global corporate tax reform.

Facebook, which is one of Ireland’s largest employers with around 3,000 full-time employees and an additional 3,000 contractors, will allow some workers to move permanently after more than a year of many working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible employees in Facebook offices in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom may move to any of these locations. U.S.-based employees can also move to Canada, she added.

Facebook Ireland’s Gareth Lambe said it is still under investigation to see how many Ireland-based employees could benefit from the policy. Less than half of the staff are Irish nationals.

“We will continue to grow aggressively,” he told national broadcaster RTE, referring to a move in the next year or two to a new 57,000-square-foot campus in Dublin that will be staffed by 7,000.

“Overall, this will not have a material impact on Facebook’s job growth in Ireland,” he said, referring to the remote working directive. “Our goal this year is to add about 700 additional employees and we will continue to do so and continue to grow.”

“But this is a significant development and in the years and decades to come it is possible that the growth in jobs and numbers in Ireland will not be as rapid as it was before.”

The story goes on

Lambe said that Facebook’s top decision makers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will continue to be based in Dublin, which means that corporate tax status will not change. However, if you move abroad permanently, you will no longer pay any income tax in Ireland.

In response to the move, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said one of the consequences of the pandemic will be much greater worker mobility across national borders, but FDI will remain “an indispensable part” of the Irish economic model.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Frances Kerry)