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Coming to work in Ireland


If you intend to come to work in Ireland you need to know the rules about the formalities involved in travelling to Ireland, the rules about permission to land in Ireland. It would be helpful to know general information about who is entitled to come to Ireland and about living in Ireland before you come here.


Finding a job in Ireland

You may find out about job vacancies in Ireland and how to begin the process of finding a job in Ireland.


Citizens of certain countries need a visa in order to come to Ireland. You must apply for an Irish visa online. A visa does not confer any right to live or work in Ireland.

Right to work in Ireland

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you are from an EU member state or one of the countries of the EEA or Switzerland, you are entitled to come to work in Ireland. You do not need an employment permit. You are entitled to have your dependants come to live with you. If you are a spouse or civil partner of an EEA/Swiss national who is exercising the right of free movement, then you have similar rights to work and live in Ireland.

If you are an EEA or Swiss national, you are entitled to be treated in the same way as Irish citizens when you apply for work in Ireland. You are free to apply for any job vacancy, including jobs in the public sector. These include jobs in the Irish army and the Irish police force (An Garda Síochána), but not the Irish diplomatic service.

There is a system of mutual recognition of qualifications between the EEA countries.

Other countries

If you are from another country then generally you need an employment permit. There are 9 different employment permits – see ‘Types of employment permit’ below.

Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation: Non-EEA nationals who have been invited to attend an interview for employment on the Highly Skilled Occupations list, will be granted a Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation allowing them to remain Ireland for a maximum of 90 days.

Who does not need an employment permit?

You do not need an employment permit in order to work legally in Ireland if you are in one of the following categories:


If you are from a country whose nationals normally require an employment permit and you are studying in Ireland on an approved course, you may take up casual work – a maximum of 20 hours a week in term time and full time during the holidays – without an employment permit.

The Third Level Graduate Scheme (pdf) allows non-EEA students who have graduated on or after 1 January 2007 with a level 7 degree to remain in Ireland for 6 months. Those with a degree at levels 8-10 can remain for 12 months. This allows them to find employment and apply for a General or Critical Skills Employment Permit.

Working holiday authorisations

Working holiday authorisations may be issued to nationals of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Hong Kong, USA, Taiwan and South Korea as part of a reciprocal agreement between these countries and Ireland. If you are on a working holiday authorisation you are not permitted to transfer over to a General Employment Permit.

General rules about employment permits

There are general rules which apply to all employment permits. Either the prospective employee or prospective employer may apply for the permit – see 'How to apply'.

Refusal of employment permit: If you are refused an employment permit, you may ask for an internal review. You should ask for a review within 21 days of being notified of a refusal.

Employers who want to employ people who need employment permits have to meet certain requirements. They must be legally trading in Ireland – this means they must be registered with Revenue and with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) if the employer is a company. You can check the registration at the CRO at:

The employer must employ you directly – this means that applications from recruitment agencies, agents, intermediaries or companies who intend to outsource or subcontract you to work in another company are not accepted.

There is a limit to the proportion of the workforce who can be employment permit holders. Permits are not granted to employers where a result of granting the permit would be that more than 50% of employees in the firm would be non-EEA nationals. This requirement may be waived in the case of start-up companies or where the applicant will be the sole employee of the employer.

Employees who have employment permits are obliged to abide by the immigration rules. This means that you may need a visa in order to come here and you must register with the immigration authorities.

Family reunification

Your right to have your family come and live with you in Ireland depends on the type of permit you have. You can find out about the residence rights of family members.

Types of employment permit

Since 1 October 2014, there are 9 types of employment permit. They include a Critical Skills Employment Permit and a General Employment Permit which have replaced the work permit and Green Card permit respectively.

Critical Skills Employment Permits are for highly skilled migrant workers and have replaced the Green Card Permit. They are granted to 2 groups of people: people with specified skills in a restricted list of occupations in the salary range of €30,000 to €60,000 and people in almost any occupation where the salary range is above €60,000. There are further details about Critical Skills Employment Permits on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation's website.

General Employment Permits may be issued to foreign nationals who need employment permits for those occupations to which the Critical Skills Employment Permit does not apply. There are certain occupations for which employment permits are not considered. Further details about General Employment Permits are on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation's website.

Intra-company transfer employment permit: this scheme is designed to facilitate the transfer of senior management, key personnel or trainees who are foreign nationals (who need an employment permit) from an overseas branch of a multinational corporation to its Irish branch. There is further information about the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation's website.

Spousal/dependant work permits: spouses, partners, civil partners and dependants of holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits and researchers may be granted a Dependant/Partner/Spousal (DPS) Employment Permit. Further details about DPS Employment Permits are on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation's website.

Protection for migrant workers

Foreign nationals who are legally working in Ireland have exactly the same rights under employment legislation as Irish working here.

The new employment permits are given to the employee. The permit contains a statement of the rights and entitlements of the worker. The statement of rights includes the information about when and how the worker may change employment. The statement also includes details of pay, rights under the national minimum wage legislation and any deductions which it is proposed to make from that pay – for example, for accommodation. The national minimum wage legislation allows for certain deductions to be made from the statutory minimum pay of an employee if the employee is provided with board and/or lodgings.

Employers are not allowed to deduct expenses associated with recruitment from the employee's pay and are not allowed retain any of the worker’s personal documents.


Critical Skills Employment Permit: The fee for an application is €1,000.

Fees for General Employment Permit applications and intra-company transfer:

For a period of up to 6 months €500
For between 6 months and 2 years


How to apply

Applications for employment permits can be made by you or your prospective employer to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation using the relevant employment permit application form.

If you are in Ireland and you need English translations of documents you can contact the embassy or consulate of your country for assistance.

Where to apply

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Employment Permits Section
Davitt House
65a Adelaide Road
Dublin 2

Opening Hours:Helpline only: Monday to Friday 9:30am - 5pm
Tel:+353 1 417 5333
Locall:1890 201 616
Fax:+353 1 631 3268

Page updated: 9 October 2014


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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.