Coming to work in Ireland


If you intend to come to work in Ireland you need to know the rules about the formalities involved in travelling to Ireland and the rules about permission to land in Ireland. It would be helpful to know general information about who is entitled to come to Ireland and about living in Ireland before you come here.


Finding a job

You may find out about job vacancies and how to begin the process of finding a job in Ireland.


Citizens of certain countries need a visa in order to come to Ireland. You must apply for an Irish visa online. A visa does not confer any right to live or work in Ireland.

Right to work

Brexit and UK citizens

On 31 January 2020 at 11pm the UK exited the EU. From that date the UK is no longer a member of the EU and is considered a third country. However, during the agreed transition period (until 31 December 2020), British citizens and their families have the same rights to live, work, claim benefits, and access healthcare in the EU as they had before. British citizens have the additional protection of the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK which will continue after the UK leaves the EU. You can read more about ‘Residence rights of UK citizens’.

EEA, Swiss and British citizens

If you are from an EU member state, one of the countries of the EEA, Switzerland or the UK, you are entitled to come to work in Ireland. You do not need an employment permit. You are entitled to have your dependents come to live with you.

If your non-EEA spouse or civil partner is coming to live in Ireland with you, they must apply for permission to remain under EU Treaty Rights to have similar rights to live and work in Ireland.

If you are an EEA, Swiss or British national, you are entitled to be treated in the same way as Irish citizens when you apply for work in Ireland. You are free to apply for any job vacancy, including jobs in the public sector. These include jobs in the Irish army and the Irish police force (An Garda Síochána), but not the Irish diplomatic service.

There is a system of mutual recognition of qualifications between the EEA countries. If you are a UK citizen, you can find out more in our document on Recognition of professional qualifications in Ireland.

Other countries

If you are from another country then generally you need an employment permit. There are 9 different employment permits – see ‘Employment permits’ below.

Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation: Non-EEA nationals who have been invited to attend an interview for employment on the Highly Skilled Occupations list, will be granted a Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation allowing them to remain Ireland for a maximum of 90 days.

Who does not need an employment permit?

You do not need an employment permit to work legally in Ireland if you are in one of the following categories:

  • Citizens of EEA member states,Switzerland and the UK, and their spouses, civil partners and dependants (regardless of their nationality)
  • UK citizens
  • People who have been granted refugee status in Ireland
  • People who have been refused refugee status but have been given permission to remain on humanitarian grounds
  • People who have been given permission to remain because they are the spouse, civil partner or parent of an Irish citizen
  • Postgraduate students where the work is an integral part of the course of study being undertaken
  • Non-EEA nationals carrying out scientific research for an approved research organisation
  • The Van der Elst process generally allows a non-EEA national, legally employed by a company in an EU country, to provide services on a temporary basis to a company in another EU country on behalf of his/her employer without the need to obtain an employment permit.
  • The Atypical Working Scheme allows eligible non-EEA nationals to do certain short-term contract work in Ireland.


If you are from a country whose nationals normally require an employment permit and you are studying in Ireland on an approved course, you may take up casual work – a maximum of 20 hours a week in term time and full time during the holidays – without an employment permit.

The Third Level Graduate Scheme (pdf) allows non-EEA students who have graduated on or after 1 January 2007 with a level 7 degree to remain in Ireland for 6 months. Those with a degree at levels 8-10 can remain for 12 months. This allows them to find employment and apply for a General or Critical Skills Employment Permit.

Working holiday authorisations

Working holiday authorisations may be issued to nationals of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Chile, Hong Kong, USA, Taiwan and South Korea as part of a reciprocal agreement between these countries and Ireland.

Employment permits

There are general rules which apply to all employment permits. There are 9 types of employment permit. They include the Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly skilled workers and the General Employment Permit which have replaced the work permit and Green Card permit respectively. Either the prospective employee or prospective employer may apply for the permit – see 'How to apply' below.

Refusal of employment permit: If you are refused an employment permit, you may ask for an internal review. You should ask for a review within 21 days of being notified of a refusal.

Employers who want to employ people who need employment permits have to meet certain requirements. They must be legally trading in Ireland – this means they must be registered with Revenue and with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) if the employer is a company. You can check the registration at the CRO at

The employer must employ you directly – this means that applications from recruitment agencies, agents, intermediaries or companies who intend to outsource or subcontract you to work in another company are not accepted.

Employees who have employment permits are obliged to abide by the immigration rules. This means that you may need a visa in order to come here and you must register with the immigration authorities.

Family reunification

Your right to have your family come and live with you in Ireland depends on the type of permit you have. You can find out about the residence rights of family members.

Protection for migrant workers

Foreign nationals who are legally working in Ireland have exactly the same rights under employment legislation as Irish working here.

The new employment permit is given to the employee. The permit contains a statement of the rights and entitlements of the worker. The statement of rights includes the information about when and how the worker may change employment. The statement also includes details of pay, rights under the national minimum wage legislation and any deductions which it is proposed to make from that pay – for example, for accommodation. The national minimum wage legislation allows for certain deductions to be made from the statutory minimum pay of an employee if the employee is provided with board and/or lodgings.

Employers are not allowed to deduct expenses associated with recruitment from the employee's pay and are not allowed retain any of the worker’s personal documents.


Critical Skills Employment Permit: The fee for an application is €1,000.

Fees for General Employment Permit applications and intra-company transfer:

For a period of up to 6 months €500
For between 6 months and 2 years


How to apply

Applications for employment permits can be made by you or your prospective employer to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS).

If you are in Ireland and you need English translations of documents you can contact the embassy or consulate of your country for assistance.

Where to apply

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Employment Permits Section

Earlsfort Centre
Lower Hatch Street
Dublin 2
D02 PW01

Opening Hours: Helpline only: Monday to Friday 9:30am - 5pm
Tel: +353 1 417 5333
Locall: 1890 201 616
Fax: +353 1 631 3268
Page edited: 31 January 2020