Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
The spouse, de facto partner or dependant of a Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holder or researcher under a Hosting Agreement may get permission to work in Ireland.
A spouse or de facto partner will be granted permission when they register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). Other dependants of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or researcher under a Hosting Agreement must apply for an employment permit.
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.
Spouse or de facto partner
INIS will grant you permission to reside in the State on a stamp 1G which allows you to work, if you are an eligible spouse or de facto partner of one of the following:
- A person with a Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP),
- A researcher under a Hosting Agreement (provided for in Directive 2005/71/EC)
Since 6 March 2019, a spouse or de facto partner of a CESP holder no longer needs an employment permit.
If you are already living in Ireland with a stamp 3 and you want to work, you should go to your local immigration office with your spouse or de facto partner who is resident in Ireland on the basis of a Critical Skills Employment Permit or Hosting Agreement. You must provide a copy of the Critical Skills Employment Permit or Hosting Agreement. You will get a new Irish Residence Permit on stamp 1G conditions. This will allow you to work without an employment permit.
You can read Frequently Asked Questions on ‘Revised immigration arrangements for the Spouses and De Facto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders’ (pdf).
A dependant (other than a spouse or de facto partner) of a Critical Skills Employment Permits holder, or a researcher on a Hosting Agreement can apply for a Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit. This employment permit makes it easier for dependents to access employment because:
- Employers do not have to advertise the job with Department of Social Protection employment services/EURES before making the employment permit application – known as the labour market needs test
- The dependant can apply for any job vacancy except that of a domestic operative
- First applications and renewals for an employment permit as a dependent of a CSEP holder or researcher on a Hosting Agreement are exempt from the usual application fee
Criteria for dependants
To apply for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit you must:
- Be recognised as a dependant of a CSEP holder or a researcher on a Hosting Agreement by the Department of Justice and Equality
- Have resided in Ireland on a continual basis since landing in the State
- Not be in full-time education
- Live with the CSEP holder or researcher on a Hosting Agreement
Criteria for employers
Your prospective employer must be trading in Ireland, registered with Revenue and with the Companies Registration Office.
An employment permit will only be granted if an employer/employee relationship will exist and you will be employed, salaried and paid directly by the employer.
An employment permit will not be issued where the granting of the permit would mean that more than 50% of the employees in the company would be non-EEA nationals. This requirement may be waived if the applicant will be the sole employee of the employer.
Duration and renewal of an employment permit
A Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit can be issued for the period up to the expiry date of the Certificate of Registration of the Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or researcher on a Hosting Agreement. The maximum period the permit can be issued is 3 years. It may renew the permit - see 'How to apply' below.
Changing job on an employment permit
You are 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 Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit is made.
Spouses, partners and dependants of other employment permit holders
A Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit is not given 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:
- A labour market needs test will be required
- Fees are payable when applying for or renewing an employment permit
- Applications for General Employment Permits will not be considered for occupations listed as ineligible for employment permits
There is no fee for Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit applications or renewals.
How to apply
Spouse or de facto partner
If you are a spouse or de facto partner of a person with a Critical Skills Employment Permit or researcher on a Hosting Agreement, you must register with INIS. You don’t need an employment permit. INIS will grant you permission to reside in the State on a stamp 1G which allows you to work.
If you are a dependant of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or a dependent of a researcher on a Hosting Agreement, you apply to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) for a Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit to work in Ireland.
You can apply to the Employment Permits Section of the DBEI when you get a job offer. You apply online with the required documentation, using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). You must apply at least 12 weeks before the proposed start date of employment.
You will be issued the Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit and a copy will be sent to your prospective employer.
Processing and reviews: You can check the status of your application through the online status enquiry facility. The application processing times are on the DBEI'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 you get your Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit, you must check whether your current permission to remain in the State needs updating. If you live in Dublin this is done through the Burgh Quay Registration Office and you must book an appointment online to visit it. If you live outside Dublin, you go to a regional immigration office. It is important to do this as otherwise you may not have the correct immigration status.
There is further information on Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s website.
Where to apply