Critical Skills Employment Permit
If you are from a country that 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 2003–2014 there are 9 types of employment permit including a Critical Skills Employment Permit (formerly Green Card permit), a General Employment Permit (formerly work permit) and a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.
The Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014 states that a foreign national without an employment permit, who took all reasonable steps to get one, may be allowed to take civil action against their employer for compensation for work done or services rendered.
Critical Skills Employment Permits are issued by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The employer or the employee can apply for the permit which must be based on an offer of employment – see 'How to apply' below. The permit is granted to the employee and includes a statement of the employee's rights and entitlements. An employee working on an employment permit is protected by employment legislation in exactly the same way as other employees.
There are 2 categories of eligible occupations for a Critical Skills Employment Permit:
- Jobs with annual salaries of €60,000 or more – all occupations (other than certain ineligible job categories and those which are contrary to the public interest)
- Jobs with annual salaries of €30,000 or more – the occupation must be on the Highly Skilled Occupations List .
Non-EEA nationals with a stamp 1, 1A, 2, 2A or 3 residence permission, who have been offered a job in an occupation on the Highly Skilled Occupations List, can apply for an employment permit.
You must have a job offer from a company or employer who is registered with Revenue, 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 for this permit. The job offer must be for 2 years or more.
Labour market needs test
A labour market needs test is not required for a Critical Skills Employment Permit, so the employer does not need to advertise the job with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection employment services/EURES or in newspapers. However, an employment permit will not be granted to companies where more than 50% of the employees are non-EEA nationals. This requirement may be waived in the case of start-up companies which are supported by Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland.
You must have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience required for the job. For jobs in the €30,000 or more salary range you must have a degree or higher qualification. For jobs with an annual salary of €60,000 or over, you must have a degree or equivalent experience.
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 Burgh Quay Registration Office. You must book an appointment online to visit it. If you are living outside Dublin, you should register at your regional registration office or your local Garda District Headquarters. You need to do this to get permission to remain and to ensure you have the correct immigration status, as an employee. You will be given a Certificate of Registration which is also known as an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) (formerly called a GNIB card).
Expiry of Critical Skills Employment Permit
The Critical Skills (and Green Card) Employment Permit is issued for 2 years and you are not required to renew it. Instead you apply to your local immigration officer for a Stamp 4 permission to live and work in Ireland without an employment permit.
Applying for a Stamp 4
You must complete a request form to get a support letter from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation confirming your current employment. You can find details of the procedure and the documentation required on dbei.gov.ie.
You then register with your local immigration officer – see above. You must have the following documents with you:
- Your passport
- Your Certificate of Registration (IRP card)
- Your Critical Skills Employment Permit
- A letter from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation confirming your continuing employment
If you are granted a Stamp 4 permission, it will be issued for 2 years and can be renewed provided you continue to satisfy the criteria. When you have been legally resident for 5 years, you can apply for long-term residency.
If you are not eligible for a Stamp 4, you may be issued with a Stamp 1 and you will continue to need an employment permit to work in Ireland.
If you have a passport from a country whose passport holders require a visa to enter Ireland you must apply for an entry visa online.
In general, if you are resident in Ireland on a tourist visa you cannot apply for an employment permit. You should make your application for an employment permit while resident outside the State. There are some exceptions to this, see Employment Permits FAQ’s (pdf) on dbei.gov.ie.
You can apply to have your spouse, partner and minor dependent children join you once you have your Critical Skills Employment Permit. There is information about family reunification on the INIS website. Spouses, partners and dependants of employees on employment permits may be able to get Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits provided they are legally resident here.
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 can change employer if you make a new application for a Critical Skills Employment Permit.
Losing your job
If you are made redundant you should notify the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation using the redundancy notification form within 28 days of dismissal. The Department will allow you 6 months to find another job. When you find another job you can apply for a new Critical Skills Employment Permit even if the job is now in one of the ineligible categories.
You should contact your local immigration officer to confirm your immigration status - see 'Registration' above. If you have more than 6 months before your immigration permission expires, you can reside in Ireland under your stamp 1 permission for 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 Certificate of Registration - 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 can apply for a new employment permit. Further details about the provisions for non-EEA nationals who are made redundant are on the INIS website.
The fee for a Critical Skills Employment Permit must be paid by the applicant. The applicant can be the employer, the employee, a connected person or contractor, or an authorised agent. Payments from businesses are made by electronic fund transfer (EFT).
|New||€1,000||Up to 2 years|
If an application is refused or withdrawn, 90% of the fee will be refunded to the applicant.
The fee for the Certificate of Registration is €300.
You can read more about fees for employment permits on dbei.gov.ie.
How to apply
Applications for a Critical Skills Employment Permit should be made to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The employer or the employee can apply. You apply online with the required documentation, using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS).
Processing and reviews: You can check the status of your application using the online status enquiry facility. The application processing times are on the Department’s website. If your application is refused, you must be given the specific reasons it was refused. You can appeal this decision within 28 days, using the form to submit a decision for review. There is further information about the Critical Skills Employment Permit on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation's website.
You can read more about employment permits in the frequently asked questions document on dbei.gov.ie.
Where to apply