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 2003–2014 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.
Since 1 October 2014, the Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014 has changed the current employment permits system through the provision of 9 different types of employment permit and changes to the criteria for issuing employment permits. The Act also provides that a foreign national without an employment permit, who took all reasonable steps to obtain one, may be allowed to take civil action against the employer for compensation for work done or services rendered.
Critical Skills Employment Permits are issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Either 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 as follows:
(1) 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)
(2) Jobs with annual salaries of €30,000 or more – the occupation must be on the Highly Skilled Occupations List.
Since 10 April 2013, 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, may 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 under the scheme. The job offer must be for 2 years or more.
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 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 qualification or higher. For jobs with an annual salary of €60,000 or over, you must have a degree or equivalent experience.
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.
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.
From 1 April 2015, there is a new application procedure for this Stamp 4 permission. First, you must apply on this request form (pdf) for a support letter from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Employment confirming your current employment. You can find details of the new procedure and the documentation required on djei.ie.
You then register with your local immigration officer – see above. You must have the following documents with you:
If you are granted a Stamp 4 permission, it will be for 2 years and will be renewable provided you continue to satisfy the criteria for it. When you have been legally resident for 5 years, you may 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.
You may apply to have your spouse, partner and/or minor dependent children join you once you have obtained 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 obtain 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 may change employer provided that a new application for a Critical Skills Employment Permit is made.
If you lose your job through redundancy you should notify the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation using the redundancy notification form (pdf) within 28 days of dismissal. The Department will allow you a period of 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 GNIB 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 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.
The fee for a Critical Skills Employment Permit must be paid by the applicant. 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 GNIB Certificate of Registration is €300.
Applications for a Critical Skills Employment Permit should be made to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Either the employer or the employee can apply using the Critical Skills Employment Permit application form (pdf). The form includes a list of the supporting documentation required.
Processing and reviews: 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 within 28 days, using the form to submit a decision for review (pdf)
There is further information about the Critical Skills Employment Permit on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation's website.
Employment Permits Section
65a Adelaide Road
Opening Hours:Helpline only: Monday to Friday 9:30am - 5pm
Tel:+353 1 417 5333
Locall:1890 201 616
Fax:+353 1 631 3268
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.