Working outside the EU


Working outside the EU presents opportunities for career advancement or new experiences you may not be able to find closer to home. If you are interested in doing this you should remember that finding a job in another country involves additional challenges and requires careful research and planning.

For information about moving to the UK to work, see our document on the Common Travel Area.

What you need to know before you go

You may decide to look for a job in a country outside the EU, or the job you currently hold may decide to post you to another country. In either case you may need a working visa or work permit before you can start working in your chosen country.

You should also bear in mind other differences, such as language, culture and climate. There may also be significant differences in work practices, working hours and job application methods.

Finding out information about other countries

You should research the work opportunities and find out whether you will need a visa or work permit in your chosen country. You can do this by getting in touch with the embassy or consulate of the country that interests you. There is a list of foreign embassies in Ireland on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

You can find information about jobs and accommodation using the internet and the local papers. If you have a further or higher education qualification, you can find out if your qualifications are recognised abroad.

Contact the Irish embassy or consulate of the country where you will be working to find out as much as you can in advance of travel. (This is especially important regarding entry visa and work permit requirements). Other useful sources of information are immigrant, expatriate or Irish organisations in the country where you are going to live and work.

Below is an overview of the requirements to go to the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand:


You need a visa to work in Australia. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website has information for people coming to work in Australia. A SkillSelect service allows intending migrants indicate their interest in applying for a skilled visa. You can read about changes to the Skilled Occupations List. You will need to know about skills assessments which are mandatory for certain visas.

If you are between the ages of 18-35, you are eligible for a working holiday visa which allows you to live and work in Australia for one year.


If you want to go to live and work permanently in Canada there are different visas for immigrants such as skilled workers and family sponsorship. There is the Federal Skilled Worker Programme in which your qualifications are judged on a point system. If you reach a certain number of points you will be eligible for a visa. Find out more information about working in Canada and the recognition of foreign qualifications in Canada.

The International Experience Canada programme allows students and people aged under 35 to live and work in Canada for up to 2 years.

New Zealand

You need a visa to travel to work in New Zealand. The skilled migrant visa is the most common way of getting permission to work in New Zealand. These visas are granted according to a points system based on your qualifications and skills. If you are thinking of working in New Zealand you should get information about recognition of your qualifications. The New Zealand Government Immigration website has information about working in New Zealand.

The working holiday visa scheme allows young adults aged 18-30 to live and work in New Zealand for a year.

United States of America

If you want to move to the USA to work you will need an immigrant visa. Information about visas is available on the website of the US embassy in Dublin. You can also check the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs specific visa information website. There are different types of immigrant visas, most are based on sponsorship by a family member or a prospective employer. Another way to get a visa is to enter the Diversity Visa lottery. You can find information on recognition of qualifications in USA on the US Department of Education website.

The Intern Work and Travel Programme allows qualifying Irish post-secondary students and recent graduates to work and travel as interns in the US for up to 12 months. You apply through a designated sponsor organisation.

Working holidays

Working holiday schemes are agreements between countries which allow young adults to go to live and work in another country for a year. Ireland has working holiday agreements in place with a number of countries.

What to do before you leave

The following is a checklist of what you should consider before going:

  • What are the visa and work permit requirements?
  • What employment protection measures are in force (for example, unfair dismissals, maternity leave)?
  • What healthcare facilities are available to me?
  • Am I required to have any vaccinations before I can travel?
  • What accommodation or tenancy rights are in force?
  • What is the tax situation? Does Ireland have a tax agreement with the country?
  • What is the social security position? Does Ireland have a bilateral agreement with the country that will allow you to combine contributions paid in both countries towards certain pension rights, including disability? There is more information in our document about leaving Ireland and your social security entitlements.
  • Money – you should bring enough to support you and your family until you find a job, including some months’ rent and deposit. Check if you can access your Irish bank account.
  • Travel insurance and medical insurance
  • Leave your contact details with someone at home who can pass them to the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the event of an emergency. You can also register your contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Documents you should bring with you

  • Passport or other required identification
  • Visa or work permit, if required
  • Certificates of qualifications: degree, training certificates, driving licence
  • CV, employment record and references
  • Medical details
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Return ticket so you can come back to Ireland if you can’t find work or accommodation. Some countries may require you to have a return ticket before entry.
  • Contact details of family and friends to be left with the nearest Irish embassy or consulate.

Further information about leaving Ireland and is available on the Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project website.

Page edited: 11 September 2023