Living & Working in Ireland. Work Permits: What Do You Need to Know?


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If you are from an EU member state or one of the countries of the EEA or Switzerland, you are entitled to come to work in Ireland. You do not need an employment permit and you are also entitled to have dependants come to live with you. If you are a spouse or civil partner of an EEA/Swiss national who is exercising the right of free movement, then you have similar rights to work and live in Ireland.

If you are an EEA or Swiss 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.

If you are from another country then you will most likely need an employment permit unless you are:

  • A citizen of the EEA member states and Switzerland, and their spouses, civil partners and dependants (regardless of their nationality)
  • Granted refugee status in Ireland
  • Have been refused refugee status but have been given leave to remain on humanitarian grounds
  • Have been given leave to remain because you 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.
  • From 2 September 2013 the pilot Atypical Working Scheme will also allow eligible non-EEA nationals to do certain short-term contract work in Ireland.

Student Work Permits 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 at a maximum of 20 hours per week in term time and full time during the holidays – without an employment permit.

The Third Level Graduate Scheme 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 work permit or Green Card permit.

Types of Work Permits for Ireland

Green Card permit: For highly skilled migrant workers. It has replaced the previous working visa/work authorisation system. The previous working visa/authorisations remain valid for the duration covered by them and the people who hold them may renew under the new system.

Work permits: May be issued to foreign nationals who need employment permits for those occupations to which the Green Card permit does not apply, though there are certain occupations for which work permits are not considered. Further details about work permits are on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation’s website.

Intra-company transfer employment permit: This scheme is designed to facilitate the transfer of senior management, key personnel or trainees who are foreign nationals (who need an employment permit) from an overseas branch of a multinational corporation to its Irish branch. There is further information about the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation’s website.

Spousal/dependant work permits: spouses, civil partners and dependants of employment permit holders may be granted a work permit. Further details about spousal or dependant work permits are also on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation’s website.

Taken from the citizensinformation.ie information, click here for further links, details and resources on this topic and more from Citizens Information.

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