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Green Card permits

Information

If you are a national from a country which is not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland*, in general you will need an employment permit to work in Ireland. Under the Employment Permits Acts 2003–2012 there are 4 types of employment permit: Green Card permit, work permit, spousal/dependant permit and intra-company transfer permit (see below).

*The European Economic Area comprises the European Union member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. People from Switzerland coming to work in Ireland do not need an employment permit.

Changes in 2013

Since 22 July 2013 further changes to the rules for Green Card applications include:

  • Non-EEA nationals with Stamps 1, 1A, 2, 2A or 3 residence permission who have been offered a job in any occupation except on the list of ineligible categories, may apply for an employment permit. (Previously it was limited to jobs in a recognised highly skilled shortage occupation)
  • Current holders of a work permit for an exchange agreement or internship and holders of an intra-company transfer on a one-year training programme can apply for a work permit or Green Card from within the State. This is an extension to the rule that allows current holders of intra-company transfer and contract service provider employment permits to apply for other types of employment permit, subject to the normal criteria – see ‘Intra-company transfer scheme’ below

These changes are in addition to the changes to the rules for Green Card applications which came into effect on 10 April 2013.

Green Card permits - main features

The Green Card permit is an employment permit for most occupations with annual remuneration of over €60,000 or certain occupations where there are skill shortages.

The main features of the Green Card scheme are:

  • The Green Card permit is available for occupations with annual remuneration of €60,000 or more - see 'Eligible occupations' below
  • It is also available for a restricted list of occupations with annual remuneration of €30,000 to €59,999 - in April 2013 this list of occupations was revised - see 'Highly Skilled Occupations List' below.
  • There is no requirement for a labour market needs test - see below
  • The Green Card permit is issued for 2 years and a renewal permit is not required - see 'Expiry of Green Card permit' below.
  • Holders of a Green Card permit can have their spouses, civil partners and families join them immediately.
  • Either the employer or the employee can apply for the employment permit, based on an offer of employment
  • The permit is granted to the employee and includes a statement of the employee's rights and entitlements
  • A copy of the permit is sent to the employer
  • The employer is prohibited from deducting recruitment expenses from the employee's pay or retaining the employee's personal documents

Employees working on employment permits are protected by employment legislation in exactly the same way as other employees.

Rules

Job offer

You must have a job offer from a company or employer who is registered with the Revenue Commissioners, trading in Ireland and registered with the Companies Registration Office. You must be directly employed and paid by your employer in Ireland. Job offers from recruitment agencies and other intermediaries are not acceptable under the scheme. The job offer must be for 2 years or more.

Labour market needs test

A labour market needs test is not required, that is the employer does not need to advertise the job with the Department of Social Protection employment services/EURES or in newspapers. However, an employment permit will not be granted to companies if the granting of the permit would mean that more than 50% of the employees would be non-EEA nationals. This requirement does not apply if the Green Card application is made by the employee.

Qualifications

You must have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience required for the job.

Eligible occupations

There are 2 categories of eligible occupations as follows:
(1) For jobs with annual remuneration of €60,000 or more the Green Card permit is available for all occupations (other than certain ineligible job categories and those which are contrary to the public interest)

(2) For jobs with annual salaries of €30,000 – €59,999 Green Card applications may be made for the following occupations:

Highly Skilled Occupations List (annual remuneration between €30,000 – €59,999)

Economic Sector Occupation Job Titles
All sectors ICT professional IT/Computer systems managers; IT/Computer analysts; Computer programmers; Database administrators/architects; Business process specialists; Messaging and communications specialists; IT architects; IT security specialists; IT project managers; IT Product managers; Data analysts; Web developers including social media specialists; IT network specialists;; Software engineers and software developers (all languages including JAVA); Application and computer testers; Application developers; Computer gaming developers and designers; Cloud computing specialists; IT legal specialists including IT contract specialists; Localisation specialists; IT intellectual property specialists; IT-enabled education specialists; IT foreign markets specialists and UI/UX engineers.
All sectors Health professionals Registered nurses, Medical practitioners, Specialist nurses, Pharmacists/Pharmacologists and related occupations, Dental practitioners, Clinical nursing managers and advanced nursing practitioners
All sectors Health associate professionals Dieticians, Orthoptists, Medical scientists, ECG technicians, Neurophysiological measurement technicians, Cardiac catheterisation technicians, Vascular technicians, Respiratory technicians, GI function technicians, Audiologists, Biochemists, Medical radiographers
All sectors Professional engineers and technologists Electrical engineers; Chemical and formulation engineers/analysts (including with active pharmaceutical ingredients background); Design and development; Network, Validation, Product development; Planning; Process and quality control; Regulation engineers; Industrial hygiene engineers; Telecommunications validation engineers; Manufacturing instrumentation and control technicians; Electronics engineering/Applied physicists.

All sectors

Researchers and natural scientists Researchers, Chemists, Natural scientists, Biological and Microbiologists, Physicists and Material scientists and Bio-pharmaceutical R & D project managers
All sectors Business and financial professionals and associate professionals

Chartered and certified accountants, Actuaries, Management consultants, Business analysts, Compliance specialists, Risk analysts/specialists, Tax experts, Legal experts, Credit specialists.

Registration and permission to remain

If you are not an EEA or Swiss national you must register with your local immigration officer in the area where you intend to live when you arrive in the State. In the Dublin area, the registration is done at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). If you are living outside Dublin, you should register at your local Garda District Headquarters. This is in order to obtain permission to remain and to ensure you have the correct immigration status, that is, as an employee. You will be given a Certificate of Registration which is also known as a GNIB card.

Expiry of Green Card permit

The Green Card permit is issued for 2 years and you are not required to renew it. Since 30 August 2010 under revised immigration arrangements, holders of Green Card permits for 2 years may be granted a stamp 4 permission for a further 2 years.

Within 2 weeks of the expiry of your Green Card permit or stamp 4 permission to remain you should apply to renew your permission to remain by registering with your local immigration officer - see above. You must have the following documents with you:

  • Passport
  • Certificate of Registration (GNIB card)
  • Your Green Card permit
  • Your most recent pay slip

Provided that you are still working in the same occupation, for the same employer and for at least the same salary as stated on your Green Card permit you will be given a Stamp 4 permission for 2 years. This allows you to work in Ireland without a permit and it is an interim arrangement. If the immigration officer is not satisfied that you meet the qualifying criteria you will be given a Stamp 1 permission for 3 months and referred to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation - see 'How to apply' below.

You can find a list of frequently asked questions about the renewal arrangements for Green Card permit holders on the INIS website.

Visas

If you have a passport from a country whose passport holders require a visa to enter Ireland you should apply for an entry visa from the Irish embassy or consulate in the country where you live.

Dependants

You may apply to have your spouse, civil partner and/or minor dependent children join you once you have obtained your Green Card permit. There is information about family reunification on the INIS website. Spouses, civil partners and dependants of employees on employment permits may be able to obtain spousal/dependant work permits provided they are legally resident here.

Changing job

If this is your first employment permit in Ireland then you are expected to remain with your employer for 12 months (unless there are exceptional circumstances). After that you may change employer provided that a new application for a Green Card permit is made.

Losing your job

If you lose your job through redundancy you should notify the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The Department will allow you a period of 6 months to find another job. When you find another job you have to apply for a new Green Card permit.

You should contact your local immigration officer to confirm your immigration status - see 'Registration' above. If you have more than 6 months before your GNIB immigration permission expires, you can reside in Ireland under your stamp 1 permission for a further 6 months. If you have less than 6 months' immigration permission you can have your immigration permission extended to 6 months which means you will have to pay for a new GNIB card - see 'Rates' below. If you have not found a new job after 6 months you will be expected to leave Ireland. If you then get an offer of employment in Ireland you may apply for a new employment permit. Further details about the new provisions for non-EEA nationals who are made redundant are on the INIS website.

Work permit holders

If you are a non-EEA national already working in Ireland on a valid work permit you may apply for a Green Card permit provided you meet the criteria. You must return your work permit with your new application for a Green Card permit. If you are not eligible for a Green Card permit you may apply to renew your work permit when it expires. (If you are renewing your work permit the new arrangements apply as regards fees and duration of work permit. The list of ineligible categories applies only to new applications for work permits.)

Intra-company transfer scheme

The Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit allows senior management, key personnel and trainees who are foreign nationals working in an overseas branch of a multi-national company to transfer to the Irish branch. The employee must be earning at least €40,000 a year (trainees must be earning at least €30,000 a year) and have been working for the company for a minimum of 12 months. An intra-company transfer permit may be granted for a maximum of 2 years initially and may be extended to a maximum of 5 years. An employee who has held an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit for a year or a trainee may apply for a Green Card or a work permit, provided they meet the normal criteria.

Holders of Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits do not accrue rights for the purposes of long-term residency.

Graduate scheme

Non-EEA students who have graduated with a level 7 degree may be permitted to remain in Ireland for 6 months and those with a level 8 or higher degree may be permitted to remain for 12 months. The Third Level Graduate Scheme (pdf) allows them to find employment and apply for a work permit or Green Card permit. During this 6-month period they may work full time. They must be legally resident in Ireland and should apply for this extension of their student permission (stamp 2) to their local immigration registration office - see 'Registration and permission to remain' above.

Rates

The fee for a Green Card permit must be paid by the applicant.

Permit Fee Duration
New €1,000 Up to 2 years

The fees for an intra-company transfer permit are as follows:

Permit Fee Duration
New €500 Up to 6 months
New €1,000 Up to 2 years
Renewal €500 Up to 6 months
Renewal €1,000 Up to 2 years
Renewal €1,500 Up to 3 years

Since 19 November 2012 the fee for the GNIB Certificate of Registration is €300 (€150 previously).

How to apply

Applications for a Green Card permit should be made to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Note: Irish embassies do not process applications for Green Card permits.

Either the employer or the employee can apply using the employment permit application form (pdf) or the new single eform (pdf). Both forms includes a list of the supporting documentation required.

Intra-company transfer permit: applications for an intra-company transfer permit should be made by the host organisation in Ireland using the application form for an intra-company transfer permit (pdf)or the new single eform (pdf).

Processing and appeals: You can check the application processing times on the Department’s website. The official processing your application will either grant it or refuse it for specific reasons. If your application is refused you may appeal a refusal decision within 21 days. Your appeal will be considered by a separate and more senior official. If your appeal is refused, you are not prohibited from making a new application.

There is further information about Green Card Employment Permits on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation's website.

Expiry of Green Card permit: If your Green Card permit is due to expire and you do not meet the qualifying criteria to be given a Stamp 4 permission, the immigration office will give you a Stamp 1 permission for 3 months and refer you the Employment Permits section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. You should send a completed referral form (pdf) to the Employment Permits Sections together with copies of documents such as your P60 and your last 3 pay slips.

Where to apply

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Employment Permits Section
Davitt House
65a Adelaide Road
Dublin 2
Ireland

Opening Hours:Helpline only: Monday to Friday 9:30am - 5pm
Tel:+353 1 417 5333
Locall:1890 201 616
Fax:+353 1 631 3268
Homepage: http://www.djei.ie/labour/workpermits/index.htm
Email: employmentpermits@djei.ie

Page updated: 11 March 2014

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

  • Work permits
    Find out about work permits, who may apply and when a person with a work permit may change jobs.
  • Coming to work in Ireland
    The rights of EU nationals and non-EU nationals to work in Ireland. Outlines the criteria regarding the need for employment permits and includes information on how to apply for an employment permit.
  • Work permits for spouses and dependants of employment permit holders
    Details of the arrangements to give access to employment for spouses, civil partners and dependants of non-EEA nationals who are holders of employment permits in Ireland.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.