Types of employment permits
Most non-EEA nationals must have an employment permit to work in Ireland. If you have moved to Ireland to join a family member, or you have been granted residence in Ireland by the Minister for Justice, you may be allowed to work without an employment permit.
Employment permits are processed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). Usually you apply for the employment permit when you have been offered a job. You have to get your employment permit before you come to Ireland in most cases. You can apply for the employment permit yourself, or your employer may apply for you.
Your spouse, partner or dependents also need an employment permit to work, unless you have a Critical Skills Employment Permit.
The employment permits scheme is governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003–2014.
Employment permits and COVID-19
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has made changes to how employment permits are issued and renewed during COVID-19. You can read about these changes in our document Immigration and employment permits during COVID-19.
Critical Skills Employment Permit
You can apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit if you are offered a job in a profession that is either:
- Paid at a rate of at least €32,000 per year and on the Critical Skills Occupation List
- Paid at a rate of €64,000 per year and is not on the list of ineligible occupations
The Critical Skills Employment Permit is for skilled workers who are qualified in professions where there is a shortage of skills in Ireland. You must have a relevant third level qualification, but for some types of job, you may be eligible with a lesser qualification or if you have the required practical experience to do the job.
Your prospective employer must offer you at least a 2-year employment contract.
Your family can join you in Ireland immediately. Your spouse or partner can get a Stamp 1G Irish Residence Permit, which allows them to work without an employment permit. After two years of working on a Critical Skills EP in Ireland, you can apply for a Stamp 4 Irish Residence Permit, which allows you to work without an employment permit.
General Employment Permit
You can apply for a General Employment Permit if you are offered a job that is:
- Paid at a rate of €30,000 per year (see below for exceptions)
- Not in a profession on the list of ineligible occupations
- For a business where more than half of the workers are from outside the EEA. This is called the 50:50 rule.
The company or business must be already trading in Ireland and registered with the Companies Register Office and Revenue.
Your family can join you in Ireland after your first year of employment. Your spouse or partner has to apply for an employment permit to work in Ireland.
If you get a General Employment Permit, you can apply for a visa to come to Ireland (if you need a visa to enter Ireland). After 5 years you can apply for a Stamp 4 Irish Residence Permit, which allows you to work without an employment permit.
Labour Market Needs Test
The employer must have tried to fill the post with an Irish or EEA citizen. They must show that they have advertised the job with EURES and the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for at least 4 weeks. They must also advertise the job in a national newspaper for at least 3 days, and a local paper, or an online recruitment agency (that is not a DSP or EURES website) for 3 days. There are some exceptions to when a Labour Market Needs Test is needed.
The pay must be at least €30,000 per year, with the following exceptions:
- €27,000 if you have graduated from a third level college in Ireland in the past 12 months and are offered a graduate job on the Critical Skills Occupation List.
- €27,000 if you have graduated from a third level college overseas in the past 12 months and are offered a graduate job as an ICT professional on the Critical Skills Occupation List.
- €27,000 if the employer needs a person who is fluent in an official language of a non-EEA country, and the job is in customer service, online digital marketing or sales, or sales support. This only applies where the employment is supported by an enterprise development agency.
- €27,500 for jobs as boners of meat
Contract for Service Employment Permit
If you are working for a company that has a contract with an Irish business or body to carry out work in Ireland, your employer can apply for a Contract for Service Employment Permit. You must have been working for the contractor (the business abroad that has been granted the contract) for at least 6 months.
The Permit is only valid for as long as needed to carry out the contracted work. You cannot stay in Ireland for more than 5 years on a Contract for Service Employment Permit. For short contracts of less than 3 months, you should apply for the Atypical Working Scheme.
The following rules apply:
- The contractor must be registered with Revenue.
- At least half of the employees of the contractor or the company that the contract is with must be EEA citizens.
- A Labour Market Needs Test is needed in most cases.
- The minimum pay rate is €40,000 per year.
Internship Employment Permit
If you are a full-time student in a college outside of the EEA, you can apply for an Internship Employment Permit to get work experience in Ireland.
The following rules apply:
- The work experience must be a requirement of your course
- The minimum pay rate is the national minimum wage
- The internship must be in an occupation on the Critical Skills Occupations List
- The Permit is for a maximum period of 12 months. When the Permit is finished, you must leave Ireland.
Sport and Cultural Employment Permit
You can apply for a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit for jobs in the sport and cultural sectors in Ireland.
You must have the specific skills and relevant qualifications to work in a sporting or cultural business or organisation.
Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
You can apply for an Exchange Agreement Employment Permit if you are coming to Ireland through one of the following programmes:
- The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE)
- The Fulbright Programme
- The Bord Bia exchange agreement between St Joseph’s University, Philadelphia and UCC for food marketing students
Permits are for a maximum period of 12 months.
Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits
You can apply for an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit if you work for a multinational company and you are transferred to the company’s Irish branch. The Permit is for:
- Senior managers earning at least €40,000 per year
- Key personnel who have specialist knowledge, earning at least €40,000 per year
- Trainees earning at least €30,000 per year
Senior managers and key personnel must have worked for the company for at least 6 months before the planned transfer. Trainees must have worked for the company for at least one month.
Reactivation Employment Permit
You can apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit if you were working in Ireland with an employment permit, and you became undocumented through no fault of your own, or you were badly treated by your employer.
You must apply to Immigration Services Division for permission to be in Ireland. If your application is successful, you can register with immigration and apply for the Reactivation Employment Permit. You must have an offer of employment. The job must pay the minimum wage or above, and there are no restrictions on the type of job you can apply for