Reactivation Employment Permit
In general, non-EEA nationals must have an employment permit to work in Ireland. The Reactivation Employment Permit is for non-EEA nationals who came to Ireland on a valid employment permit, but who fell out of the system through no fault of their own or because of exploitation in the workplace. The Reactivation Employment Permit enables them to work legally again. The main features of the Reactivation Employment Permit are:
- You must previously have held an employment permit
- You must not be currently employed
- You must have a job offer
- You must have a temporary Stamp 1 immigration permission and have a “Reactivation Employment Permit” letter from the Department of Justice and Equality – see ‘How to apply’ below
- A labour market needs test is not required
- It is available for all occupations, including certain carers but excluding all occupations in a domestic setting, for example, housekeepers
Who is eligible
The following non-EEA nationals can apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit:
- People who previously worked legally with an employment permit and are currently illegally resident
- People who hold a work permit for low-skilled and low-paid jobs who wish to change employer but do not qualify for the new General Employment Permit
- Certain spousal/dependant permit holders who wish to apply for a new employment permit with a new employer but who do not qualify for the new Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
- People who hold a spousal/dependant permit or the new Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit whose circumstances have changed, for example, separation and where the Minister for Justice and Equality is satisfied that a Reactivation Employment Permit should be considered in the case
Who is not eligible
Non-EEA nationals are not eligible for a Reactivation Employment Permit if:
- They entered the State as students and visitors and have never held an employment permit
- They have already been granted a Reactivation Employment Permit
- They hold Critical Skills, Green Card, work or General Employment Permits and have been made redundant
- They hold Intra-Company Transfer, Contract for Services, Internship or Exchange Agreement Employment Permits and have remained in the State after their permits have expired
- They previously had an employment permit and stamp 1 immigration permission but changed their status to another stamp.
You can read more about the eligibility criteria (pdf) for the Reactivation Employment Permit.
You must have a genuine job offer and you must have the qualifications, skills and experience required for the job. You must be directly employed and paid by your employer. The employer must be trading in Ireland, registered with Revenue and, if applicable, with the Companies Registration Office. Your employer cannot deduct recruitment expenses from your pay or retain your personal documents. You must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage hourly rate.
A Reactivation Employment Permit will not be issued to companies where the granting of the permit would mean that more than 50% of the employees would be non-EEA nationals. However, this requirement may be waived where you will be the only employee. This will also apply when you renew your permit.
Duration and renewal
A Reactivation Employment Permit is issued first for 2 years and then may be renewed for a further 3 years. If you have worked for 5 consecutive years on a work permit you may no longer need a permit to work in Ireland. When your stamp 1 permission is due for renewal your local immigration officer – see ‘Registration’ below – will issue you with a stamp 4 immigration permission for one year which will allow you to take up any employment but not self-employment.
When you have been legally living and working in Ireland for 5 years on a work permit you can apply for long-term residence to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) - see 'Where to apply' below. You may also apply for exemption from the requirement to have an employment permit. If your application is successful you will be granted extended residence permission for a further 5 years and you will not need a work permit to work in Ireland.
If this is your first Reactivation Employment Permit, you are expected to stay with your new employer for 12 months (apart from in exceptional circumstances). After that you may move to a new employer provided that a new application for an employment permit is made.
Losing your job
If you are made redundant while you hold a Reactivation Employment Permit, you should notify the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The Department will allow you 6 months to find another job. When you find another job you will be issued with a new Reactivation Employment Permit in accordance with the requirements of the scheme.
If you have not found a new job after 6 months you should contact your local immigration officer to confirm your immigration status. If you decide to leave the country and you then get an offer of employment in Ireland you may apply for a new employment permit.
If you have a Reactivation Employment Permit, your spouse, partner or dependants are not eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit. They can apply for a General Employment Permit in their own right.
The fees for Reactivation Employment Permits are as follows:
|Duration of permit||Amount|
|Up to 6 months||€500|
|Up to 2 years||€1,000|
|Duration of permit||Amount|
|Up to 6 months||€750|
|Up to 3 years||€1,000|
If an application is refused, 90% of the fee will be refunded to the applicant.
The fee for the GNIB Certificate of Registration is €300.
How to apply
Applying for a Temporary Stamp 1
You must first get a temporary Stamp 1 immigration permission. When you have a current job offer, you apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for a Reactivation Employment Permit Permission using the application form (pdf) and guidelines (pdf). You send the completed application to Unit 2 Residence Division of INIS – see ‘Where to apply’ below. Your application is assessed and if you qualify, you are given a stamp 1 permission for 4 months. You must register this permission with the GNIB – see ‘Registration’ below.
Applying for a Reactivation Employment Permit
You (or your prospective employer) can make a new application for a Reactivation Employment Permit to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. You apply using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). The supporting documentation required includes the “Reactivation Employment Permit” letter from the Department of Justice and Equality.
Processing and reviews
You can check the status of your application through the online status enquiry facility. The application processing times are on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s website. The official processing your application will either grant it or refuse it and must give specific reasons for refusal. If your application is refused you may appeal the decision within 28 days, using the review of decision to refuse an employment permit form.
Either an employer or an employee can apply for a renewal using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) 16 weeks before the expiry of the permit.
When you are issued with your Reactivation Employment Permit you need to register with the Burgh Quay Registration Office (if living in Dublin) or the regional registration office or the local Garda District Headquarters (if living outside Dublin). You must do this to get permission to remain in the State as an employee. It is important to do this as otherwise you will not have the correct immigration status.
There is further information about Reactivation Employment Permits on the Department's website.
Where to apply
Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
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