Working outside the EU


Working in another country can be a very rewarding experience and a great way of broadening your horizons and career prospects. Working outside the EU will involve travel to new places and may offer the opportunity to try a new career or to use and develop an existing skill or qualification. It is important to remember from the start however, that finding a job in another country can be time consuming and will require determination and careful thought and planning in advance.

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

If you have made the decision that you want to work outside the EU or if you are being posted there through your current employment, you will have to take into account some important issues that you may not have to consider when working in the EU. For example, you may require a working visa or work permit before you can commence working in your chosen country.

It is also useful to 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

When you have decided on a particular country you should research the work opportunities and possibilities and find out whether you will require a visa or work permit. You can check all this information in advance by getting in touch with the embassy or consulate of the country to which you will be travelling. There is a list of foreign embassies in Ireland on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

You can check the internet and the local papers for information about jobs and accommodation. 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 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 go to Australia to work. 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 assessment. There is a working holiday visa for young adults that allows them to live and work in Australia for a year. Since the 1 November 2018 Irish citizens aged 18-35 years of age can apply.


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. From 4 May 2013 applications will be accepted for a new Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) with revised selection criteria. Find out more information about working in Canada and the recognition of foreign qualifications in Canada.

Since 2013, 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 usual 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 to migrate to the United States (US) 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. Crosscare Migrant Project has published a guide to the Intern Work and Travel Programme (pdf).

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 the governments of Argentina, Chile, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and Taiwan. Ireland also has an agreement with USA for a 12-month work and travel programme for young adults.

Information and application details are in the Guide to Working Holiday Schemes published by Crosscare Migrant Project. See above for more details of working holidays in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA.

What to do before you leave

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

  • What are the visa and/or 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/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 working abroad is available on the Crosscare Migrant Project website.

Page edited: 1 February 2020