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.

International protection applicants can apply for permission to work, once certain eligibility criteria are met. You can read more 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. 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.

Employment permits and COVID-19

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has made changes to how employment permits are issued and renewed during the COVID-19 emergency period. You can read about these changes in our document Immigration and employment permits during COVID-19.

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 needed.

Critical Skills Employment Permit

Critical Skills Employment Permits (formerly Green Card permits) are available for most occupations with annual remuneration of over €64,000. They are also available for occupations with annual remuneration of at least €32,000 on the Critical Skills Occupations List (formerly Highly Skilled Occupations List). There is no requirement for a labour market needs test.

Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit

An Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit apply to a dependant (other than a spouse or de facto partner) of a Critical Skills Employment Permits holder, or a researcher on a Hosting Agreement.

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).You can use the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit checklist to help you apply.
  • 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.

Page edited: 8 April 2020