Overview of employment permits
Most non-EEA nationals must have an employment permit to work in Ireland. The employment permits scheme is governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003–2014.
Since 9 February 2018 temporary interim measures have been introduced that allow asylum seekers to work. Asylum seekers can apply for an employment permit in the same way as other non-EEA nationals, or request permission to be self-employed. You can read more on employment permits on dbei.gov.ie and in our document on services and entitlements for people seeking asylum.
There are 9 types of employment permit under the Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014. They include a General Employment Permit and a Critical Skills Employment Permit, which have replaced the work permit and Green Card permit respectively. New types of employment permit include a Reactivation Employment Permit for those whose employment permit has expired in certain circumstances. The Act also provides that a non-EEA national without an employment permit, who took all reasonable steps to get one, may be allowed to take civil action against the employer to compensate them for work done or services rendered.
You can read more on employment permits in the frequently asked questions document on dbei.gov.ie.
The 4 main types of employment permit are as follows:
General Employment Permit
General Employment Permits (formerly work permits) are available for occupations with an annual remuneration of €30,000 or more. They will only be considered in exceptional cases for jobs with a lower annual remuneration. Normally, a labour market needs test is required.
Critical Skills Employment Permit
Critical Skills Employment Permits (formerly Green Card permits) are available for most occupations with annual remuneration of over €60,000. They are also available for occupations with annual remuneration of at least €30,000 on the Highly Skilled Occupations List. There is no requirement for a labour market needs test.
Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits apply to spouses, recognised partners, civil partners and dependants of holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits or existing Green Card permits or researchers under a hosting agreement. There is no requirement for a labour market needs test.
Reactivation Employment Permit
Reactivation Employment Permits allow foreign nationals who entered the State on a valid employment permit but who fell out of the system through no fault of their own, or have been badly treated or exploited in the workplace, to work again. Applicants for a Reactivation Employment Permit must first apply for a temporary immigration permission stamp 1 to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). You can find the eligibility criteria, guidelines and application form on inis.gov.ie.
Other types of employment permit
There are 5 other types of employment permit, as follows:
- Contract for Services Employment Permits are for foreign undertakings with a contract to provide services to an Irish entity. These permits allow the transfer of non-EEA employees to work on the Irish contract in Ireland while remaining on an employment contract outside the State. Generally, a labour market needs test is required.
- Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits allow senior management, key personnel and trainees working in an overseas branch of a multi-national company to transfer to the Irish branch. They 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 6 months (one month if a trainee).
- Internship Employment Permits are available to non-EEA national full-time students who are enrolled in a third-level institution outside Ireland and have a work experience job offer in the State.
- Sport and Cultural Employment Permits are available for employment in the State for the development, operation and capacity of sporting and cultural activities.
- Exchange Agreement Employment Permits apply to those employed in the State under prescribed agreements, for example, the Fulbright Program for researchers and academics.