Critical Skills Employment Permit
If you are from a country that is not in the European Economic Area (the EU, plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein), the UK or Switzerland, you need permission to work in Ireland. In most cases, this means you have to apply for an employment permit.
The Critical Skills Employment Permit is for skilled workers who are qualified in professions where there is a shortage of skills in Ireland. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) has a Critical Skills Occupation List.
You apply for it before you come to Ireland in most cases. You may also have to apply for a visa to come to Ireland.
Once you have arrived in Ireland, you have to register and get an Irish Residence Permit.
There are other types of employment permit issued by DETE.
Employment permits and COVID-19
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employemnt has made changes to how employment permits are issued and renewed during COVID-19. You can read about these changes in our page Immigration and employment permits during COVID-19.
Who is eligible for a Critical Skills Employment Permit?
You (or the employer) can apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit if you are offered a job that has either:
- An annual salary of at least €32,000 a year in an occupation that is on the Critical Skills Occupation List
- An annual salary of €64,000 a year in an occupation that is not on the list of ineligible occupations
You cannot get a permit to work for a company where more than 50% of the employees are non-EEA nationals. This requirement may be waived in the case of start-up companies which are supported by Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland.
You must apply for the permit before you come to Ireland. If you already live in Ireland and have a valid Irish Residence Permit (IRP) with stamp 1, 1A, 2, 2A or 3 permission, you can apply for the permit if you are satisfy the criteria for the Permit.
You must have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience needed for the job.
For eligible jobs in the €32,000 or more salary range you must have a degree or higher qualification.
For eligible jobs with an annual salary of €64,000 or over, you must have a degree or equivalent experience.
For nurses and midwives, you must have a qualification that is recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for registration to work in Ireland.
You must have a job offer from a company or employer who is registered with Revenue, trading in Ireland and registered with the Companies Registration Office.
You must be directly employed and paid by your employer in Ireland. Job offers from recruitment agencies and other intermediaries are not acceptable for this permit.
The job offer must be for 2 years or more.
Labour market needs test
A labour market needs test is not required for a Critical Skills Employment Permit. This means that the employer does not need to advertise the job with the Department of Social Protection, European Employment Service (EURES) or in newspapers.
Coming to Ireland for a job interview
If you have been invited to come to Ireland for an interview for a job on the Critical Skills Occupations List, you can apply for a Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation. This allows you to remain in Ireland for a maximum of 90 days.
How to apply
Either you or the employer can apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Either you or your employer must pay a fee of €1,000. If your application is refused you will get 90% of your application fee back.
After you have applied
The application processing times are on the Department’s website. If your application is refused, you must be given the specific reasons it was refused. You can appeal this decision within 28 days, using the form to submit a decision for review.
Immigration and registration
If your application is successful and you live outside of Ireland, you still have to apply for a visa to enter Ireland if you are from a country whose citizens need a visa to enter Ireland. You must present your employment permit to the immigration officer in the airport or port of entry to Ireland.
You must register with your local registration office in the area where you intend to live when you arrive in Ireland. Once you are registered, you will get an Irish Residence Permit (IRP).
If you are already living in Ireland on another immigration permission, you must go to your local registration office to change your registration permission.
People who have a Critical Skills Employment Permit can bring their family to live with them in Ireland.
Family are from a country whose citizens need a visa to enter Ireland: they must all apply for separate visas.
Family are from a country whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Ireland: they must show proof that they are the family members of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder to an immigration officer in the airport or port where they enter Ireland.
Preclearance for de-facto partners
A de-facto partner is someone who you are in a committed relationship with that is like a marriage, but you are not married to each other. If your de-facto partner is joining you in Ireland, they must apply for either:
- A visa if they are from a country whose citizens need a visa to enter Ireland
- Preclearance if they are from a country whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Ireland
Your children must also apply the same way as your de-facto partner.
Registration and work
Your spouse or de-facto partner and any child aged 16 and over must register and get an IRP.
Your spouse or partner can get a Stamp 1G IRP which gives them the right to work without a work permit. Other family members can apply for a Dependent/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit.
Applying for a Stamp 4 after two years
The Critical Skills Employment Permit is issued for 2 years. After this, you can get a Stamp 4 permission to live and work in Ireland without an employment permit.
You must complete a request form to get a support letter from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment confirming your current employment.
You then register with your local immigration officer – see above. You must have the following documents with you:
- Your passport
- Your Certificate of Registration (IRP card)
- Your Critical Skills Employment Permit
- A letter from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation confirming your continuing employment
If you are granted a Stamp 4 permission, it will be issued for 2 years and can be renewed provided you continue to satisfy the criteria. When you have been legally resident for 5 years, you can apply for citizenship by naturalisation.
If you are not eligible for a Stamp 4, you may be issued with a Stamp 1 and you will continue to need an employment permit to work in Ireland.
Changing or losing your job
Changing your job
If this is your first employment permit in Ireland then you must stay with your employer for 12 months (unless there are exceptional circumstances). After that, you can change employer if you make a new application for a Critical Skills Employment Permit.
If you qualify for a Stamp 4 after two years, you can change jobs without needing to apply for an employment permit.
Losing your job
If you are made redundant you should notify the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation using the redundancy notification form within 28 days of dismissal. The Department will allow you 6 months to find another job. When you find another job, you can apply for a new Critical Skills Employment Permit even if the job is now in one of the ineligible categories.
You must contact your local immigration registration office to confirm your immigration status. If you have more than 6 months before your immigration permission expires, you can reside in Ireland for 6 months. If you have less than 6 months' immigration permission you can have your immigration permission extended to 6 months which means you will have to pay for a new IRP. If you have not found a new job after 6 months you may have to leave Ireland.
If you then get an offer of employment in Ireland, you can apply for a new employment permit.
The fee for a Critical Skills Employment Permit must be paid by the applicant. The applicant can be the employer, the employee, a connected person or contractor, or an authorised agent. Payments from businesses are made by electronic fund transfer (EFT).
|New||€1,000||Up to 2 years|
If an application is refused or withdrawn, 90% of the fee will be refunded to the applicant.
The fee for registering with immigration and getting an IRP is €300.
You can read more about fees for employment permits on dbei.gov.ie.
Where to apply