Knowing your rights
Employment in Ireland

Ireland is experiencing a critical shortage of IT and project specialists right now. Moving to Ireland has never been easier. If you are from outside of the EU, read below for some general information on permits.

Employment Rights

As an EU/EEA citizen, once you’re here you are entitled to the same employment rights as Irish citizens and you may apply for any job. You can also stay in Ireland if you’re unemployed and looking for work. Any unemployment benefits you have been receiving in your home country may be transferred to Ireland for 3 months (6 months in some cases).

The EURES network

You can also take advantage of the European Employment Services (EURES), network which was established to help both EU/EEA employees and employers by providing information and advice on living and working in another EU country. EURES also assists with job applications, hosts a number of international job fairs and the EURES portal. The portal provides a wealth of information and is available in 25 EU languages. DIALOG is a EURES Ireland initiative which is specifically for international workers in Ireland and organises regular seminars and workshops for job seekers.

Whether you’re a recent graduate hoping to up-skill in Ireland, a professional looking to take your career to the next level or considering calling Ireland home for you and your family, you’ll find Ireland’s welcoming reputation is backed up by an open and straightforward immigration process.

Visas for Ireland

You can find out what you need to enter Ireland based on your nationality here. Simply select your nationality from the menu, select how long you’re planning on staying and type of visa required. You’ll then be given a list of what you need to do before you travel, when you travel, and after you’ve arrived in Ireland.

Visas to Ireland are issued by the Department of Justice and Equality. You can make your online application from your home country and submit your hard copy application and supporting documentation to the relevant Irish Embassy/Consulate/Visa Office. The visa fee is €60 and there may be other costs in gathering the documents needed for your application. You can generally expect a decision within 8 weeks from the date on which your application is lodged at the Embassy/Consulate/Visa Office.

Work Permits for Ireland

Employment permits are issued by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Once an employee holds an employment permit and is working, they have the same Irish Employment Rights as Irish citizens. There are numerous types of employment permits available, but for those looking to enter the tech industry, there are two main routes; the Critical Skills Employment Permit and the General Employment Permit.

The Critical Skills Employment Permit

This permit (costing €1,000 per application), is only open to those in professions on the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List. This makes it a prime opportunity for those working in the tech industry, as many skills are currently in high demand in the Irish labour market, including web design and development professionals, programming and other ICT professions.

There are a number of advantages when choosing the Critical Skills Employment Permit route:

  • Skill that are listed as short supply, a Labour Market Needs Test is not required.

Permit holders can apply for immediate family reunification from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and once their dependants/partners/spouses are resident in the State they are eligible to seek any employment and apply to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit which is currently issued free of charge.

Permit holders may apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service for permission to reside and work without the requirement for an employment permit upon completion of the Critical Skills Employment Permit’s duration.

The annual salary for the job offered must be at least €30,000 and the prospective employee concerned must have secured a 2-year job offer in respect of the eligible occupation from the prospective employer.

The General Employment Permit

This permit allows the holder to take up employment in a wider range of fields, excluding those on the list of Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits.

Annual remuneration for the job must be at least €30,000. In certain cases, the required annual remuneration may be lowered to €27,000. These exceptions are as follows:

  • A non-EEA student who has graduated within 12 months from an overseas third-level institution and has been offered a graduate position on the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations list.
  • A non-EEA student who has graduated within 12 months from a non-EEA institution and has been offered a graduate position from the ICT Category on the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations list.

In both of these cases, in order to renew the permit, you must be earning at least €30,000.

A General Employment Permit is issued first for 2 years and then may be renewed for a further 3 years. Permit holders may be able to bring their dependants to Ireland after 1 year, but must be able to support them financially. They can apply for residency after 5 years.

Applying for an employment permit

Before applying for a permit, you must be in receipt of a job. You can apply for an employment permit yourself or your employer can apply for it on your behalf, but applications from recruiters or other agencies will not be accepted. Employers may cover the cost of the permit.

Applications are made online and the current processing time of both Critical Skills and General permits is about eight weeks.

Refusals of employment permits

All refusals for an employment permit may be appealed within 28 days. There are a number of reasons your application for an employment permit or renewal may be refused. We have listed some below, but you should contract the issuer for details.

  • You entered Ireland as a visitor, and not an employee.
  • You are in Ireland illegally or no longer meet the conditions under which you first entered.
  • You are being deported or have been asked to leave Ireland by the Department of Justice and Equality.
  • You are seeking employment with a non-EEA/Swiss employer who does not have permission to be operating in Ireland.