Employment Permits

Eligibility to Reside and Work in Ireland

Employment permits are required for permission to remain in Ireland is granted by the Department of Justice and Equality and consists of a special stamp on their passport called a “residence stamp”. If a person is granted permission to remain, a “certificate of registration” is endorsed on their passport.
If a non EEA national (i.e. the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) is considering coming to live in Ireland, they will require a number of important pieces of documentation including:

  1. Passport – This must be valid for at least the duration of the person’s stay;
  2. Relevant visa – if they are a citizen of a visa required county;
  3. Employment permit, business visa or business permission if they intend to take up employment or self-employment.

It may be possible to obtain long term residence rights if a person has been legally resident in Ireland for five years or more.

General Employment Permits Solicitors Dublin

The General Employment Permit replaces the old Work Permit Employment Permit. The employment of all non EEA nations are governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003-2014 (as amended) and associated Regulations.
There are many different types of Employment Permits such as:

  1. Critical Skills Employment Permit
  2. Dependent Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
  3. Intra Company Transfer Employment Permit
  4. General Employment Permit

General Employment Permits are the main vehicle used by the State to attract third country nationals for occupations which are experiencing a labour or skills shortage in Ireland.

Unlike Critical Skills Employment Permits where the State specifies eligible occupations, General Employment Permits assume all occupations to be eligible unless otherwise specified.

Attraction Of The General Employment Permits

The main attraction of the General Employment Permit for prospective candidates is that it permits a broader range of occupations than the other classes of employment permit and may be obtained in respect of a 12-month contract of employment. This Employment Permit can be issued for an initial period of two years and can then be renewed for up to a further three years.

As with most employment permits the issue of a General Employment Permit is contingent on a job offer from a bona fide employer registered with the Revenue Commissioners and, if applicable, with the Companies Registration Office and is trading in Ireland. Amongst the information required is (a) full description of the proposed employment (b) the employment is not in an excluded job category and (c) the minimum annual remuneration is 30,000 euro although there are exceptions to this.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation also assess employers to ensure they are genuine and a property legal entity to ensure that employees will be given their employment law entitlements and rights.

A labour market test is undertaken in most cases with some exceptions and the employer must advertise the position on the Department of Social Protection Employment Services/EURES employment network and in newspapers

1. Critical Skills Employment Permit Scheme

The Critical Skills Employment Permit Scheme is generally designed to attract highly skilled people to the labour market. It is designed to attract those who may wish to take up permanent residence in Ireland. The following are eligible for this type of permit:

  • Jobs/Occupations which have a minimum salary of €30,000 and these are set out in the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List.
  • All occupations with a minimum salary of €60,000 other than those on the ineligible categories of employment for employment permits list or which are contrary to the public interest.

The applicant 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.

These permits are granted initially for a period of 2 years and those entitled can bring their spouse and families to join them immediately. Instead of applying for a formal renewal application, holders can secure a “Stamp 4 Protection which allows them to live and work in the State for a period of time subject to meeting relevant criteria outlined by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

2. General Employment Permits (formerly a work permit)

These applications are made to the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation.

These are issued where there may be a shortage of jobs in certain areas and where the salary is above €30,000 (with some exceptions). The applicant must have the relevant qualifications, skills or experience required for the role. The permit is issued for an initial period of two years with a possibility of an extension for three years. It may be possible thereafter to apply for long term residency if criteria are met.

The Permits are issued to the employee and include a statement of the employee’s rights and entitlements. This is to ensure the employee receives all their entitlements and protections under Irish employment law legislation.

A labour market test needs to be undertaken must be undertaken for General Employment Permits to establish if the relevant role can be filled by an Irish national. The vacancy must be advertised with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) employment services and various newspapers to ensure that an EEA or Swiss national cannot be found. This requirement can be waived if the application:

  • Is for a former permit holder who has been made redundant, or
  • Is for a job listed on the Highly Skilled Occupations List; or
  • Is for a job with an annual salary of 60,000 or more

Unlike critical skills permits, a partner or spouse of a general employment permits holder is not automatically eligible to join them in Ireland.

3. Intra Company Transfer (“ICT”) Permit

The ICT permit is designed to facilitate the transfer of senior management, key personnel or trainees who are non –EEA nationals from an overseas branch of a multinational corporation (Foreign Employer) to its Irish branch (Connected Person).

Many view this type of permit as the temporary injection of corporate or HQ personnel into an Irish entity and it can also be beneficial for the employee to remain on foreign payroll.

The eligibility criteria are strict as the Department’s preference is for all employment permit holders to be employed, salaried and paid under an Irish contract of employment.

The ICT permits are strictly limited to the following eligible positions:

  • Senior management earning a minimum annual remuneration of 40,000
  • Key personnel earning a minimum annual remuneration of 40,000; or
  • Personnel undergoing a training programme earning a minimum annual remuneration of 30,000.

For the purposes of the above categories, “Senior Management” includes those responsible for management of the organisation, supervision or control of work, who have authority to hire and terminate employees or to exercise discretion over the day to day operations. “Key personnel” refers to persons working within an organisation who possess specialist knowledge essential to the establishment’s service, research equipment, techniques or management. Personnel participating in a training programme refers to persons transferring for training purposes for a maximum of 12 months, provided it is adequately demonstrated that a detailed training programme will be undertaken.
The above personnel must have been working for a minimum period of 6 months with the overseas company prior to transfer. This is to ensure the person’s transfer is integral to the Irish branch,

When the assignment or permit expires or if they cease to be employed by the foreign employer, the permit holder must return to their country of origin.

Spouses/partners/dependents of ICT Employment Permit holders are not eligible for a Department/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit and must apply for an employment permit in their own right.

The connected person or the Irish branch must make the Employment Permit application for an ICT Employment Permit.

In the event an ICT permit is no longer valid, i.e. the non EEA national ceases to be employed, the permit and the connected person’s certified copy must be returned to the Department within 4 weeks from the date of termination or cessation.

4. Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits

This permit replaces the old spousal/dependent employment permit and is designed to be attractive to those holders of Critical Skills or green card employment permit holders.

The Department have stated that eligible unmarried children, recognised partners (by the Department of Justice and Equality), civil partners and spouse who have been admitted to the State as family members of holders of these categories may apply.

This permit allows the dependents, civil partners and spouse of certain categories of employment permit holders and researchers to apply for an employment permit to work in the State.

The following conditions apply

  • They can apply for a permit in respect of all occupations, including certain carers in the home, and excluding all other occupations in a domestic settting;
  • They can apply for a permit with a remuneration of less than 30,000.
  • The prospective employer is not required to undertake a labour market test.

The permit is issued to the foreign national and a certified copy is sent to the prospective employer and will allow his or her employment in the State by the employer in the occupation and locations specified in the Permit. The applicant is expected to remain with the employer for an initial period of 12 months.

A letter is required from the employer of the primary permit holder/researcher dated within the last three months from the date of receipt of the Dependent/Partner/Spouse employment permit application confirming that the primary permit holder/researcher is still in employment with that employer and their job title.

Dependent means a foreign national;

  • Whom the Department of Justice and Equality has determined is a dependent of a primary permit holder or a researcher;
  • Who has, since he or she has landed in the State, resided in the State on a continual basis
  • Who is not in full time education and
  • Who resides with the primary permit holder or the researcher

In general, the permit can only be issued for a period of two years.

Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits can only issue to persons who are residing in the State on the basis of being a dependent/partner/spouse of the primary permit holder or researcher. It is also a requirement to inform the Garda National Immigration Bureau if an employment permit is received.

To schedule an initial consultation,
contact us at +353 (01) 963 7000 or contactie@hatstone.com