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. To get a Reactivation Employment Permit you must:
- Have previously held an employment permit
- Be unemployed
- Have a job offer
- Have a temporary Stamp 1 immigration permission and a “Reactivation Employment Permit” letter from the Department of Justice and Equality – see ‘How to apply’ below
The Reactivation Employment Permit is available for most occupations, including certain carers but excluding all jobs in a domestic setting, for example, housekeepers. A labour market needs test is not required.
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 have a work permit for low-skilled and low-paid jobs and want to change employer but do not qualify for the new General Employment Permit
- Certain spousal and dependant permit holders who want 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 have a spousal/dependant permit or the new Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit whose circumstances have changed, for example, they have separated and where the Minister for Justice and Equality is satisfied that a Reactivation Employment Permit should be considered in their 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, work or General Employment Permits and have been made redundant
- They hold an Intra-Company Transfer, Contract for Services, Internship or Exchange Agreement Employment Permit and have remained in the State after their permit 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 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 more than 50% of the employees are non-EEA nationals. However, this requirement can 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 for 2 years and then can 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 will issue you with a stamp 4 immigration permission for one year which lets you to take up any employment except 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 can also apply for an 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 (except in exceptional circumstances). After that you can move to a new employer if you make a new application for an employment permit.
Losing your job
If you are made redundant when you have 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.
If you cannot find 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 can 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:
|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||€1,500|
If an application is refused, 90% of the fee will be refunded to the applicant.
The fee for the Irish Residence Permit (formerly GNIB card) Certificate of Registration is €300.
How to apply
To get a Reactivation Employment Permit, you must first apply for temporary immigration permission with INIS. Once your temporary immigration permission is approved; you can apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit with the DJEI.
Applying for a temporary immigration permission
To apply for temporary immigration permission, (which you need before you get a Reactivation Employment Permit), you must have a current job offer.
You need to complete the REP application form (pdf) and send it to INIS – see ‘Where to apply’ below. There are guidelines (pdf) to help you with this form. INIS will assess the application and if you qualify for temporary immigration permission, you get stamp 1 permission for 4 months. You must register this permission– see ‘Registration’ below.
Applying for a Reactivation Employment Permit
You apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit to the Employment Permits Section of the DJEI using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). Your prospective employer can apply on your behalf. You must provide the supporting documentation required.
Processing times and reviews
If your application is refused you must be given the reasons it was refused. You can appeal this decision within 28 days, using the review of decision to refuse an employment permit form.
An employer or an employee can apply to renew the Reactivation Employment Permit using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) 16 weeks before the expiry of the existing 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