Employment permits and family members

Introduction

If you have moved to Ireland to work with an employment permit, your family can apply to join you.

For Critical Skills Employment Permit holders, family members can join you in Ireland immediately. For General Employment Permits and other employment permits, your family can apply to join you after one year.

Family member means spouse or de facto partner, and dependent children. A de facto partner is a person you are in a committed relationship with that is like a marriage, but you are not married to each other.

Other family members may be allowed to join you in Ireland in limited situations.

In most cases, you must be able to show that you can support your family.

If your family are granted a visa (if they need one) to enter Ireland, they may still need their own employment permit to work.

Employment permits and COVID-19

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has changed 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.

Can my family join me in Ireland?

Your family does not have an automatic right to join an employment permit holder in Ireland, unless they are citizens of the EEA (the EU, plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein), the UK or Switzerland.

Immigration Services Division (ISD - the Irish immigration authority) has a family reunification policy, which sets out rules for how families from outside the EEA, UK and Switzerland can join people who live in Ireland. The policy includes people who live in Ireland as holders of an employment permit. You can sponsor applications for your family to join you in Ireland if you have an employment permit and satisfy conditions that are set out below.

You do not have to be have been married for a particular period of time. For de facto partnerships, you must be able to show that you have been in the relationship for at least 2 years.

Critical Skills Employment Permits (CSEP) and researchers on a Hosting Agreement

Your spouse or de facto partner and dependent children can apply to come to Ireland without any waiting period.

All other employment permits

Your spouse or de facto partner, and dependent children can apply to come to Ireland at the end of a 12 month waiting period. You must be earning enough money to support your family. If you have children, the levels of income that are used for qualifying for Working Family Payment are used to determine if you have the required salary.

If you have no children, then you must earn at least €30,000 per year for your spouse or partner to join you in Ireland.

Immigration rules

If your family is from a country that needs a visa to travel to Ireland, each family member must apply for their own visa. You can read guidance on the documents you must provide with the application.

If your family is from a country that does not need a visa, then they can travel to Ireland and present documentation to an immigration officer at the airport or port.

De-facto partners (and their dependent children if relevant) of Critical Skills Employment Permit or Hosting Agreement holders who are from a country that does not need a visa, must apply for pre-clearance before coming to Ireland. A de-facto partner is a person that you are in a committed relationship with that is like a marriage, but you are not actually married.

After arriving in Ireland: Your spouse or de-facto partner and any child aged 16 and over must register and get an Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

Can my family work?

Your family’s right to work depends on the type of employment permit you have.

Critical Skills Employment Permits (CSEP) and researchers on a Hosting Agreement

Your spouse or partner can get a Stamp 1G IRP when they register. This gives them the right to work without an employment permit.

Other dependents can apply for a Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit. This employment permit makes it easier for dependents to access employment because:

  • Employers do not have to satisfy the labour market needs test
  • The dependant can apply for any job vacancy except that of a domestic operative
  • Applications and renewals are free of charge
  • Pay must be at or above the National Minimum Wage

All other employment permits

Your family member must apply for an employment permit to work. They cannot apply for a Dependent/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit. Instead, they must apply for another category of employment permit. This means the job must satisfy the criteria for the permit.

Other family members

In general, only spouses or partners, and dependent children (under 18) can join you in Ireland. Children of your spouse or partner (that are not your children) can apply if they are part of your family unit.

Older children

Older children (over 18) may be able to join you in Ireland if you can show that they are wholly dependent on you. If they cannot work because of an illness or disability, they should include details in their visa application. Older children who are able to work and support themselves in the country where they live, or have other family members who can support them, are less likely to be approved. The decision is based on the individual circumstances of the applicant.

Dependent parents

Your parents, or the parents of your spouse or partner, can only join you in Ireland if you can support them financially. You must have earned more than €60,000 (or €75,000 for 2 parents) after tax and deductions in each of the 3 years before their application.

They must have health insurance, and you must sign a legal undertaking to confirm that you will look after them financially.

If your parent can support themselves financially, they can make an application to come to Ireland without a sponsor.

Other family members

Other family members may, in exceptional or compassionate circumstances, be given permission to join you in Ireland where they are dependent on you.

Further information is available in the Family Reunification Policy Document.

Further information

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Employment Permits Section

Earlsfort Centre
Lower Hatch Street
Dublin 2
D02 PW01
Ireland

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: 8 April 2020