Any foreign national who is not from an EU/EEA member state or from Switzerland has to get authorization if they want to work in Ireland – ie. an employment permit.
The Irish Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation (DBEI) is in charge of issuing Employment Permits in Ireland. There are about nine types of Ireland Employment Permits, but the two most common ones are the Critical Skills Employment Permit and General Employment Permit.
The Critical Skills permit, as the name suggests, is issued to foreign nationals who are highly-skilled and will take up positions in Ireland which are in shortage and will benefit the Irish economy. However, there is a list of eligible occupations which are included on the list.
If you are not eligible for the Critical Skills permit, you can apply for the General Employment Permit.
Ireland General Employment Permit eligibility
Unlike with the Critical Skills permit, there is no list of eligible occupations which you can take up with the General Employment Permit. All occupations are considered eligible unless they are on DBEI’s list of “Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits”.
However, before you can apply for an Ireland Employment Permit, you have to find a job in Ireland. You cannot apply if you don’t have a work contract or a job offer.
In addition, when the DBEI reviews your application, they look at other factors to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria, such as:
- Your salary. The minimum annual salary for a General Employment Permit is €30,000. However, there are exceptions:
- If you are a non-EEA student who has graduated from an Irish higher education institution and you were offered a graduate position in an occupation included on the “Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List”, the minimum annual salary should be €27,000. After employment permit renewal, the salary should be €30,000.
- If you are a non-EU/EEA student who graduated from a foreign higher education institution, and you were offered a graduate position as an ICT professional from the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List, the minimum annual salary should be €27,000. After employment permit renewal, the salary should be €30,000.
- If you are filling a position where you’re required to know the official language of a non-EU/EEA country, and you will be working in a company/business that’s supported by an enterprise development agency, the minimum annual salary should be €27,000. This includes work:
- In customer service and sales
- In online digital marketing and sales
- As a specialist language support and technical sales support
- If you are working as a Meat Deboner, the minimum annual salary should be €27,500.
- Whether your employer is registered with the Revenue Commissioners and with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies.
- Whether your employer is trading in Ireland.
- The existing workforce of the company hiring you. At least 50% of the workforce should be EU/EEA citizens, except in the following cases:
- If you will work in a startup company. The employer must have registered with Revenue in the last two years and have a letter of support from either Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland. When you renew your Employment Permit, your employer should have met the 50% rule.
- If, on the time you apply, you are the only employee.
- Whether your employer has passed the Labour Market Needs Test. This test is used to ensure that no EU/EEA national could have been suitable for the position you are filling. Your employer must prove that they advertised the job to Irish or other EU/EEA nationals before giving it to you.
- If your occupation is included on the “Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List” or you have an annual salary of €80,000, the need for a Labour Market Needs Test is waived.
- Whether you have the qualifications, skills and experience that are required for the job.
Ireland General Employment Permit requirements
When you submit your application for an Ireland Employment Permit, you need to attach several documents, such as:
- A copy of your passport, which shows your picture, signature, and personal details.
- Passport-size picture in line with Ireland photo requirements.
- A copy of the work contract signed by you and the employer.
- If you are a resident in Ireland at the time of application, a copy of your current immigration stamp/visa.
- If you are employed in Ireland under the Atypical Working Scheme provide a copy of the AWS permission letter.
- Details of a contact person: name, position in company, phone number and email address.
- Relevant Registration/Pin or License number of the company issued by the appropriate Irish Regulatory body.
- Copy of the company’s letter of support by IDA/Enterprise Ireland, if applicable.
- Details of any previous visas you have received/been rejected, if applicable.
- Proof your employer has advertised the job in the Department of Social Protection Employment Services/EURES Employment Network.
- The add is required to run for at least two weeks.
- Proof your employer advertised the job in a national newspaper for at least three days. Provide copies of the advertisements for each of the days.
- If your employer advertised the job on a jobs website, provide a copy of that as well.
- If the Labour Market Needs Test is not required, an explanation why.
- Details of your employer:
- Registered and trading name of their company/business.
- Details on the type and nature of their company/business.
- Details on the number of their employers (both EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals).
- Registration number of the employer and the company name and address.
- Proof of Monthly P30 Return from the last three months; or
- P30 SEPA monthly payments from the last 3 months; or
- Receipt of P30 return issued through Revenue Online Service.
- Details of your employment:
- Your title, duties and responsibilities.
- The location of your employment.
- Duration of your employment.
- The qualifications/skills/knowledge and experience you have, and the ones required for the job.
- Complete details of your salary (the annual salary, the weekly/hourly rates, any deductions).
- If you are a HGV Driver: Copy of your CE or C1E License
How to apply for the Ireland General Employment Permit?
The application for a General Employment Permit is done online, via EPOS (Employment Permit Online System). Either you or your employer can submit the application.
Submit the application online
After you access the EPOS page, you have to select the appropriate application form for your specific Employment Permit. You also have to select whether you are applying as an employee or an employer.
After entering your personal information, such as your name, passport number, and passport expiry date, you will receive your MyWork-ID number. You can save the progress on your General Employment Permit application and resume it later, but you will need your MyWork-ID number to get access to your application, so do not lose it.
Submit the documents
You will have to attach the documents electronically, which means you will need access to a scanner and printer.
Pay the fees
Additionally, you also have to pay a fee of €1,000 for your General Employment Permit (if the duration of your employment is up to 2 years). If your work contract/job offer is up to six months, the fee is €500.
In cases of an unsuccessful application, 90% of the fee will be refunded.
Apply for Ireland work visa
If you receive your General Employment Permit, the next step to becoming employed in Ireland is getting an Ireland work visa. You cannot apply for an Ireland work visa if you have not received an Employment Permit.
Here is a quick overview of Ireland work visas:
- The Ireland work visa is a type of Irish long-stay (D) visa.
- Just like the short-stay (C) visa, the Irish long-stay visa only allows the holder to travel to Ireland – not to enter.
- After travelling to Ireland with an Irish work visa, you have to request permission to enter from the immigration officers at Border Control. They will review your application and decide whether or not to allow you to enter.
- Not everyone has to apply for a visa to be allowed to travel to Ireland. Some can travel without a visa. But if you are a non-EU/EEA national, you will still have to ask for permission to enter the country from Border Control. Click here to see whether you need a visa for Ireland or not.
- The Ireland work visa processing time is about 8 weeks.
The application process for an Ireland visa is divided in two parts: submitting the application online and submitting the documents.
Submit the application online
You must first apply online, via AVATS, the Irish visa application facility. This is sort of like filling in a visa application form.
After you submit the online application form, you will receive a summary of the form, which you have to print, as well as an address where you have to submit the required documents.
Submit the documents
You must attach the application form summary along with the required documents and send them to the specified address.
Applying for an Ireland Residence permit
If the immigration officers grant you permission to enter Ireland, they will put a stamp on your passport which states the number of days you are permitted to stay in the country. Before those days are up, you have to register at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and receive your Ireland residence permit.
Everyone who has to live in Ireland for longer than 90 days has to register at GNIB and receive a residence permit.
General Employment Permit duration and renewal
The Ireland General Employment Permit is issued for 24 months initially. After that, you can renew it for an additional three years. You have to renew your permit via EPOS within the 16 weeks before it expires.
Once you have worked in Ireland for five years with a General Employment Permit, you may not have to renew your permit anymore. Instead, you can apply at The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service for a Stamp 4, which allows the holder to work in Ireland legally without the need of an employment permit.
Changing employers with an Ireland General Employment Permit
You can change employers only after you have worked for your initial employer for at least 12 months. After that, you can find a new job and apply for another General Employment Permit, granted that the new position is similar to your current one or you will be working in another eligible employment sector.
Can I Bring Family Members to Ireland?
You can bring your family members (spouse/partner and dependents) with you through the Family Reunification visa only after you have lived in Ireland legally for a year.
If your family members want to work in Ireland, they will have to apply for their own General Employment Permit – they are not eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.