Most non-EEA nationals must have an employment permit in order to work in Ireland. Under the Employment Permits Acts 2003–2014 there is a specific employment permit (EP) for spouses, partners and dependants of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders and researchers. To be eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse (DPS) EP the applicant must be legally resident in Ireland. Normally, the dependant must be a family member aged under 18 – see ‘Who can apply’ in the Rules section below.
Since 1 October 2014, the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit applies to spouses, recognised partners, civil partners and dependants of holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits, former Green Card permits and researchers. The scheme makes it easier for eligible spouses, partners and dependants to access employment because:
Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits are not available to spouses, partners and dependants of holders of General Employment Permits (formerly work permits) or other types of employment permit. They must apply for an employment permit in their own right. Applying for a General Employment Permit means:
Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits apply only to spouses, partners or dependants legally resident in Ireland. Applications for spouses, partners or dependants living outside Ireland must go through the normal employment permit procedures.
In order to be eligible to apply for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit the following criteria must be met:
(a) The applicant and the employment permit holder must be married, in a recognised partnership or in a civil partnership (as recognised by the Department of Justice and Equality). In general, a dependant must be a family member who is unmarried and aged under 18 - see 'Dependants' below.
(b) The employment permit holder must have one of the following:
(c) The employment permit holder must still be working within the terms of their permit.
Spouses, partners and dependants of people who once held Critical Skills, Green Card or researcher permits but who have now got permission to work in Ireland without a permit, may also be eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.
The following employment permit arrangements apply to the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.
The spouse, partner or dependant must have a job offer and must have the qualifications, skills and experience required for the job. They must be directly employed and paid by their employer in Ireland. Job offers from recruitment agencies and other intermediaries are not acceptable under the scheme. They may work for a minimum of 10 hours a week. The pay can be less than €30,000 a year but they must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage hourly rate.
The employer must be trading in Ireland, registered with Revenue and with the Companies Registration Office. A Dependant/Partner/Spouse 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. This requirement may be waived if the applicant will be the sole employee of the employer.
Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits are available only to dependent unmarried children aged under 18, who are resident in Ireland as family members of the employment permit holder. In exceptional cases Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits may be available to dependants aged over 18, who became legally resident in Ireland before the age of 18.
The Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit is normally issued for the period up to the expiry date of the Certificate of Registration of the employment permit holder. It can then be renewed - see 'How to apply' below. If you have completed 5 consecutive years’ work on an employment permit you will no longer need a permit to work in Ireland. You should contact your local immigration officer to change your immigration permission.
Someone working on a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit is expected to stay with the original employer for 12 months unless there are exceptional circumstances. After that it is possible to change job provided a new application for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit is made.
There is no fee for Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit applications or renewals.
Either the employer or the employee can apply to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Since 5 September 2016, 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 through the online status enquiry facility. The application processing times are 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 the decision within 28 days, using the form to submit a decision for review.
Renewal: Either an employer or an employee can apply using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS).
When a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit is issued to an eligible spouse, partner or dependant, they need to re-register with the Burgh Quay Registration Office (if living in Dublin) or the regional registration office or local Garda District Headquarters (if living outside Dublin). This is in order to obtain permission to remain in the State as an employee. It is important to do this as otherwise the spouse, partner or dependant will not have the correct immigration status.
There is further information on Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits 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.