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Ireland Contract for Service Employment Permit

Foreign businesses contracted by an Irish employer to provide certain services in Ireland for a stipulated time must apply for the Contract for Services Employment Permit Ireland.

For more information about the Irish Contract for Service Employment Permit, call IAS at +353 061 518 025. You can also message us online. We are an immigration expert who can help Irish businesses and their partners abide by immigration and employment laws in Ireland.

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    Contract for Service Employment Permit

    The government of Ireland replaced the Contract Service Provider class of Work Permit Employment Permit with the Contract for Services Employment Permit. This permit allows the employees of a foreign company (Contractor) that got a contract to provide services for an Irish employer (Relevant Person) to move to Ireland.

    The Contractor must apply for this permit if its employees moving to Ireland are non-EEA citizens.

    For the permit to be issued, the contract must be on a one-on-one basis with an Irish employer. You cannot apply for this permit if you are not in direct contact with the Irish employer. So, if the company with a direct link to the Irish employer outsources the job to you as a third party, you are not eligible for this permit.

    Unlike the critical skills employment permit that is valid for at least 2 years, the duration of the Contract for Service Employment Permit depends on how long the contract will last.

    If the contract will require the foreign company to work in Ireland for a long while, the permit can be issued for 24 months and can be renewed for up to 5 years. Note that the Contract for Service Employment permit cannot give you more than 5 years of stay in Ireland.

    If the contract between the foreign undertaking and the relevant person will not last more than 3 months, then the proper permit to apply for is the Atypical Working Scheme.

    Whereas the general employment permit mandates the Irish employer to pay the employees, this employment permit type mandates the foreign-based company (Contractor) to pay the employees.

    For the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) to approve the permit, the employees coming to Ireland must have worked for the Contractor for at least 6 months.

    The DETE should receive your application at least 3 months before the start of the employment.

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      Employer & Business Criteria

      Here are the requirements that the Irish business and Contractor must meet:

      Labour Market Test

      The Irish employer has to show that they have conducted the labour market needs test. To do this, the employer must prove they have advertised the role for Irish and EEA nationals. The adverts must be done in a national newspaper, local paper and the Eures employment network.

      Note that they must be done separately.

      The labour market needs test is waived if:

      • The job the foreign-based Contractor is coming to do is listed on the Critical Skills Occupations List.
      • The application for the permit comes with a recommendation letter from the Enterprise Development Agency.
      • The job pays at least €64,000 yearly.

      Registration with Relevant Bodies

      The Contractor must be registered under the Revenue Commissioners and the Companies Registration Office as an employer.

      50:50 Employment Rule

      It is mandated that both the Irish employer and the Contractor must have 50% of their employers as EEA citizens at the time the application is being made.


      The DETE requires that the Contractor pays everyone in their employ from the proceeds of the services rendered to the Irish employer. It is also mandatory that the employees carrying out the work be paid a minimum basic annual salary of €46,000 (figure correct as of January 2024; note that this figure is set to rise to €53,000 by January 2025).

      If the basic salary is not up to €46,000, the employer can make up for it by offering allowances for accommodation, transportation or feeding.

      The employer can also make up for it by offering allowances for health insurance. The health insurance payments must be made directly to the health insurer registered with the Health Insurance Authority.

      If the Contractor does not comply with these remuneration rules, they will encounter challenges when they come for renewal. This is because the DETE will ask for payslips which prove compliance with the remuneration rules.

      Here is the required information that proves the Contractor is ready to comply with the remuneration rules of the DETE:

      • The amount the employee was being paid before the application for the Contract for Services Employment Permits.
      • The amount of additional payments to be made if the employee does not earn up to €46,000 per annum before the permit application.
      • The total amount of deductions made by the Contractor, if applicable.
      • The total amount the employee will be paid during their time working in Ireland after all deductions have been made.

      Employee Criteria For The Contract for Service Employment Permit

      There are strict criteria that the DETE requires the employee to meet for the permit to be issued.

      Below are some of those criteria:

      Time Worked for the Contractor

      Before a Contract for Services Employment Permit is issued, the Contractor must prove that the employee moving to Ireland has been working for them for at least 6 months before the contract was obtained. This ensures that the reason for the employee moving to Ireland is genuine.

      Eligible for the Permit

      The Contract for Services Employment Permit is only issued to positions needed to fulfil the contract. So, if the services of, say, an accountant are not required to fulfil the contract, the DETE will deny an accountant a permit if they apply.

      Eligible Jobs Work Permit Ireland

      The permit cannot be issued for any occupation on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits.

      Skilled for the Contract

      The Contractor must also prove that their employee has the required skill to render the services needed for the contract.

      Does Not Allow Dependants

      Employees moving to Ireland on this permit cannot travel with their dependents. This is because this permit makes no provision for such. If an employee wants to move to Ireland with a dependant, then such persons will have to apply for a separate permit.

      Note that once the contract ends and the permit expires, it is required that the employee holding the permit should leave Ireland immediately.

      Again, if the permit holder has worked for 1 year, they can apply for another employment permit, like the General Employment Permit or the Critical Skills Employment Permit, if they meet the eligibility criteria.

      How To Apply For Contract for Service Employment Permit


      The foreign service provider (Contractor) is responsible for making applications for the Contract for Services Employment Permit. The application is made online using the Employment Permit Online System (EPOS).

      On the EPOS platform, there is a downloadable user guide that shows the Contractor the documents to submit during the application process.

      Note that the DETE must receive the application 12 weeks before the employment starts.

      Here are the steps on how to apply for the Contract for Service Employment Permit:

      Step 1: Visit the EPOS system and fill out the application form.

      Step 2: Gather your supporting documents. You’ll have to submit these on the EPOS portal. The EPOS portal has a document checklist you can use to gather your documents.

      Step 3: Pay the permit application fees. You have to pay €500 if the service your company is coming to render will last for 180 days or less. You have to pay €1000 if the service your company will render lasts over 6 months.

      If the DETE rejects your application, you will get a 90% refund.

      Step 4: After the DETE approves your application, your employees can now visit the Irish Embassy or Consulate in their country and get an entry visa. The application form is on the Irish government’s website.

      It is important to note that an employment permit is not the same as an entry visa. It does not permit you to enter Ireland. So, your employees must apply for a visa.

      When they get to Ireland, they must register their presence with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. This should be done as soon as they get into the country.

      It is necessary to remember that both the employment permit and visa are required by non-EEA nationals.

      EEA nationals can freely enter Ireland for work purposes.

      Application Stages

      For every employment permit application in Ireland, there are 3 application stages.

      They are:

      Received Application

      In this stage, the application was submitted with evidence of application fees paid. Once the officials of the DETE confirm these, they will put your application on the awaiting processing queue based on employment type. The queue could be the Trusted Partner Employer Queue or the Standard Partner Employment queue. The applications are treated by the date of submission.

      Processing Stage

      A high-ranking DETE official will assess your application and determine if it should be rejected or approved. If you get a mail asking for more information when you apply for this, ensure you respond to the request within 28 days.

      Review Stage

      You can appeal a refusal. However, you have 28 days to submit a Submission of a Decision for Review Form.

      You can reapply for the permit if your initial application is refused. But you have to ensure you fix the issue that caused the refusal. When you apply for review, your application is handled by a more senior DETE official who can either confirm the refusal or approve the application.

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        Permit Validity & Renewals

        How long the permit is valid depends on how long the contract will last. However, the validity of the initial application cannot exceed 2 years. After 2 years, the Contractor can apply for a renewal for up to an extra 3 years.

        The renewal application is also made online via the EPOS portal. You must apply for renewal within 16 weeks of your permit’s expiry date.

        If you are renewing a permit that will be valid for 6 months or less, you’ll have to pay €750 as the renewal fee.

        If you are renewing a permit that will be valid for more than 6 months and up to 3 years, you’ll have to pay €1500.

        Since this permit is for contract work, the time spent on it does not count towards permanent residency.

        Transfer of Undertakings: What To Know

        It is possible for Contract for Services Employment Permit holders to switch employers. Switching employers here means transfer of ownership when the Irish employer the Contractor works for sells or merges with another company.

        Once this happens, the DETE requires that the Contractor informs them of such change. This is because the previous employer’s name will still be on the permit and the EPOS portal. If this isn’t changed, the Contractor cannot renew or extend the permit when the time is due.

        In the case where it is the Contractor that sells or merges, the Contractor whose name is on the permit will have to notify the DETE of this change.

        So, whether it is the Irish employer or the Contractor’s name that is changing, the Contractor must fill out and submit to the DETE a Transfer of Undertaking Form. This form is to be completed and sent by mail to [email protected].

        Upon review of the undertaking form, the DETE can now issue a new employment permit that bears the name of the people in charge. The employer or Contractor will now receive copies of the updated employment permit.

        Employment Permits Cancellation

        If, for any reason, an employee under the Contractor loses their job while the Contract for Service Employment Permit is still valid, such should be reported to the DETE. The Contractor must send the employee’s permit and the certified copies to the DETE. This should be done within 28 days after the employment contract was terminated.

        Failure to do so will put you in trouble with the DETE.

        When the permit gets to the DETE, they will cancel the status of the employment permit.

        How IAS Can Help You Obtain Contract for Service Employment Permit

        At IAS, our caseworkers are well-versed in Irish employment and immigration laws. They have put many businesses through in applying for the Contract for Service Employment Permit, and they can help you, too.

        Our services include reviewing your documents to ensure that they are up-to-date and are compliant with the laws of Ireland. In looking through your documents, we can determine your eligibility and also advise you on other employment permits you can apply for.

        We can also guide you through the application process, ensuring you submit an application of the highest standard, one that cannot be rejected.

        Have you tried yourself and got a rejection? Our team of competent and expert immigration lawyers can review your application and appeal the refusal if it applies. Do you have any questions or want to know more about our services? Then do not hesitate to contact us today at (+353) 061 518 025 or send us a chat online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  The remuneration criteria for a Contract for Service Employment Permit is €46,000 per annum (as of January 2024; to be €53,000 by January 2025) as stipulated by the government of Ireland. The foreign employer can meet this requirement by paying basic salaries and allowances that sum up to that amount.

                  For a foreign national to be eligible for a Contract for Service Employment Permit, they must have been working for the Contractor for at least 6 months before the contract to move to Ireland came. They must also have the required skills and experience to do the job in Ireland. And lastly, they cannot come to Ireland with their dependents on the Contract for Service Employment Permit.

                  To renew a current Contract for Service Employment Permit, you have to visit the online platform of EPOS. There, you have to fill out the form, submit the required document and then wait for a decision to be made by the DETE.

                  To cancel a Contract for Service Employment Permit, the Contractor must terminate the work contract of the employee. After this, the employee submits to the DETE the permit while the Contractor submits every copy of the permit in their custody.

                  The residency requirement is first to get a valid Irish entry visa to enter Ireland. Upon arrival in the country, the permit holder must visit the Garda National Immigration Bureau to register their presence there. Again, having a valid employment permit does not mean you have permission to enter Ireland. You’ll have to apply for an entry visa.