- Types of employment permit
- Employment permit applications
- Critical Skills Employment Permit
- Applying for a CSEP
- General Employment Permit
- Applying for a GEP
- Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
- Applying for a DPS Employment Permit
- Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit
- Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
- Contract for Services Employment Permit
- Sports and Cultural Employment Permit
- Reactivation Employment Permit
- Internship Employment Permit
- Employment visa application cost and fees
- Employment visa processing time
- Ireland Work Visa Duration and Renewal
- Frequently asked questions
- How can I get help from the IAS?
Do I need to apply for an Employment Visa to work in Ireland?
Employment permits and employment visas are dealt with by two different authority bodies. It is important to recognise that they are separate processes.
Those from both non-visa required and visa-required countries who wish to work in Ireland must firstly acquire an employment permit.
However, only those from visa-required countries have the additional obligation of applying for an Employment Visa before travelling to Ireland.
Any individual wishing to enter the State, whether visa required or not, is subject to general immigration controls at the port of entry. This means that every individual must carry all relevant and supporting documentation, including the original employment permit, ready for inspection by an Immigration Officer in Ireland.
For those from visa required countries who need to apply for an Employment Visa, this must be applied for online. This can be completed and submitted on your behalf by an OISC-accredited IAS immigration consultant who has extensive experience.
A significant amount of supporting documentation is needed to accompany your application. Some of these employment visa requirements include:
- Two colour passport-sized photographs, no more than 6 months old
- Your current valid passport and a full copy of all previous passports
- A signed letter of application including your personal and contact details
- Your Employment Permit as granted by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation
- Your employment contract (if you have been given one)
- A letter from your employer in Ireland detailing the job you will undertake, the salary you are due to be paid and whether they will be providing accommodation for you
- Evidence of your qualifications and previous work experience
- Evidence of medical/travel insurance
- Details of any previous visa refusals
- Up-to-date bank statements from the last 6 months with evidence of sufficient funds to cover your costs
Here at IAS, we are well-versed in every aspect of immigration law – including all employment visa and permit applications the same as immigration lawyers.
Whether you wish to work in Ireland on a long-term or a short-term basis, we can help.
What are the various types of employment permit?
If you are a foreign national who wishes to work in Ireland, it is essential that you firstly acquire an employment permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI).
There are nine employment permits available to foreign nationals who wish to work in Ireland. These include:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit
- Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit
- Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
- Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
- Contract for Services Employment Permit
- Sport & Cultural Employment Permit
- General Employment Permit
- Reactivation Employment Permit
- Internship Employment Permit
Only the following individuals do not require an employment permit to work in Ireland:
- Citizens of the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland plus spouses/civil partners and dependants of these individuals
- Those who have been given refugee status in Ireland or permission to remain on humanitarian grounds
- Spouses/civil partners/children of Irish citizens
- Postgraduate students where employment is crucial to their studies
- Non-EEA nationals who are completing scientific research for an approved research organisation
- Those who are on the Van der Elst process which allows non-EEA nationals who are legally employed in an EU country to temporarily provide their services to another EU country on behalf of their employer
- Those on the Atypical Working Scheme which allows eligible non-EEA nationals to undertake a specified short-term work contract in Ireland
How is an employment permit application processed?
The main employment permits issued in Ireland are the General Employment Permit, the Critical Skills Employment Permit and the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.
While you are able to complete and submit your own applications for an employment permit, this can be both a convoluted and challenging process.
With the expert guidance of one of our immigration experts in Ireland, you stand a better chance of success.
All employment permits undergo the same process. This process is comprised of three stages:
Received application (awaiting processing)
When your application has been submitted and the required fees have been paid, your application will be placed in a processing queue which is based on employer type (whether a Trusted Partner or Standard). With IAS’ application package, one of our immigration specialists will monitor your application progress for you.
This is when your application is considered by an official with decision making authority. The decision maker may request additional information, if required, which must be returned within 28 days. Your application will then be either accepted or refused, with reasons for the decision provided.
If your application is refused and you wish to have this decision reviewed, you may do so within 28 days. An IAS immigration specialist can appeal this decision on your behalf, giving you the best chance of success in the event that you do not receive the result you hoped for. A review of the decision will be conducted by a separate and more senior official.
We know what makes a great employment permit application and the many errors to avoid.
What is a Critical Skills Employment Permit?
The Critical Skills Employment Permit is one of the main Irish employment permits. It is specifically for those who are deemed highly skilled and encourages them to take up permanent residence in Ireland.
Occupations categorised under the Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) are considered to be of critical importance to Ireland’s economy and are in significant shortage of supply in our labour market.
This includes the likes of ICT professionals, engineers and technologists. Occupations considered eligible under this permit are determined by the labour market requirements. The list of eligible occupations is set out in the Critical Skills Occupations List.
Some key factors of a CSEP are:
- A Labour Market Needs Test is not required for a CSEP. This means that the employer does not need to prove that they could not find a suitable EU/EEA candidate for the job.
- CSEP holders can apply for immediate family reunification from the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service (INIS) and their dependants/partners/spouses would be eligible to seek employment
- CSEP holders may apply to INIS for permission to reside and work without the requirement for an employment permit once they have completed the Critical Skills Employment Permit’s duration
The non-EEA employee is expected to stay with the initial employer for a minimum period of 12 months.
The reason for this is to take into consideration the costs involved in recruiting a foreign national and so it is deemed reasonable for the employer to expect the individual to remain in their employment for a reasonable period of time (12 months).
There are exceptions which would allow a CSEP holder to change employer if:
- The CSEP holder is made redundant
- Unforeseen circumstances arise which significantly change the employment relationship
How do I apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit?
Either the employee or the employer can apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit. The permit itself will be issued to the prospective employee. Those applying for a CSEP must have accepted a job offer of 2 years duration.
It is crucial that you apply for any employment permit at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date.
An application to apply for a CSEP can be made by one of IAS’ immigration lawyers on your behalf. We have extensive experience in completing and submitting CSEP applications and a superb track record.
A substantial amount of documentation is required to assist your CSEP application, including but not limited to:
- Specific employer details
- Your personal details including copy of valid passport etc.
- Details of previous visa permissions or employment in Ireland
- Accurate details of employment including; duties and responsibilities, period of employment and proposed start date, the qualifications/skills/knowledge/experience required for the role and how the applicant meets these requirements
- Salary details including hourly and weekly rates of pay, number of hours to be worked per week, any deductions that will be made from salary and any details on health insurance
One of our immigration lawyers in Ireland will ensure that you provide all relevant documentation. We will also provide a Letter of Representation to support your application.
From 1st January 2020, significant changes will be made to the CSEP. One of the primary changes will be with regards to annual salary requirements which will rise to €32,000 for those whose role requires a degree on the Critical Skills Occupation List. Currently, the annual salary requirement for these applicants is €30,000.
In addition, those who have relevant experience and whose role is not on the ineligible list of occupations must meet an income threshold of €64,000 as opposed to the current requirements of €60,000.
What is a General Employment Permit?
General Employment Permits are the main type of employment permit issued to foreign nationals who wish to work in Ireland. They are aimed towards those in occupations which are experiencing a labour/skills shortage in Ireland.
It differs to the CSEP in that all occupations are deemed eligible unless otherwise stated on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits.
Unlike a CSEP, a Labour Market Needs Test is typically required.
Only the following circumstances would qualify as exempt from the Labour Market Needs Test:
- If the job is included on the Critical Skills Occupations List
- If the job offer is in respect of an eligible employment with a minimum annual remuneration of €60,000
- If a recommendation from Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland has been made in relation to the job offer
- If the job offer is for a Carer of a person with exceptional medical needs and the non-EEA national has been providing care to the person before the application was made and so the individual has developed significant dependence on that non-EEA national
- If the job is offered to a non-EEA national who was made redundant whilst holding a General Employment Permit on a date after 1st October 2014 and the redundancy occurred within the previous 6 months
How do I apply for a General Employment Permit?
Applications are contingent on a job offer from an employer registered with the Revenue Commissioners. As with all employment permit applications, your application must be received at least 12 weeks prior to your proposed start date.
It is important to note that spouses/dependants/partners of those who hold a General Employment Permit are not eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit and are required to apply for a separate employment permit.
Applications for General Employment Permits can be made by the prospective employer or employee.
A General Employment Permit can be obtained by those who have been offered a 12-month contract of employment. Typically, applicants of General Employment Permits must have a minimum annual salary of €30,000.
This permit can be issued for an initial period of up to two years and can then be renewed for up to a further three years.
The applicant may apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for long term residency after five years on this employment permit.
If you are granted a General Employment Permit, the permit will set out your rights and entitlements as a worker in Ireland.
This also includes details of pay, your rights under the national minimum wage legislation and any deductions that are due to be made from your pay – this could be for accommodation, for example.
What is a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit?
The Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit is specifically for those who are either the dependant, de factor partner or spouse of an individual who holds a Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) or who is a researcher on a Hosting Agreement.
As of 6th March 2019, the spouse or de facto partner of a CSEP holder/researcher on a Hosting Agreement no longer requires an employment permit to work in Ireland.
However, a dependant who is not a spouse/de facto partner of a CSEP holder/researcher on a Hosting Agreement ought to apply for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit to work in Ireland.
With this employment permit, employers do not need to take a Labour Market Needs test (meaning they are not required to advertise the job before making the employment permit application) and dependants are able to apply for any job vacancy apart from that of a domestic operative.
In order to apply for the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit:
- The Department of Justice and Equality must recognise you as the dependant of a CSEP holder/researcher on a Hosting Agreement
- You must have resided in Ireland continuously since landing
- You must not be in full-time education
- You must live with the CSEP holder/researcher and the CSEP holder/researcher must currently be working within the terms of their Employment Permit/Hosting Agreement
How do I apply for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit?
Applying for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit follows the same application process as other forms of employment permit.
Since spouses/de factor partners of a CSEP holder/researcher on a Hosting Agreement are no longer required to apply for an employment permit to be eligible to work in Ireland, they must instead simply register with INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service).
If approved, the spouse/partner will be granted Stamp 1G immigration permissions which allows the individual to work and reside in the State.
For dependants who have received their job offer and wish to apply for the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit, the application form can be completed online and, as with the other types of employment permit, must be applied for at least 12 weeks prior to the proposed start date of employment.
IAS’ immigration consultants can take ownership of the entire application process by completing and submitting any application forms for all relevant employment permits and employment visas (if necessary) on your behalf. Our service is the same as an immigration lawyer.
This employment permit is not intended for those who are:
- Non-EEA dependants/partners/spouses of Irish citizens
- Non-EEA dependants/partners/spouses of EU nationals
- Non-EEA dependants/partners/spouses of non-EEA nationals who hold Employment Permits that are not the CSEP/researcher on a Hosting Agreement
What is an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit?
This type of employment permit is for transferring senior management, key personnel or trainees who are non-EEA nationals from an overseas branch of a multinational corporation to the Irish branch of this corporation.
This may particularly benefit those who are establishing a foreign direct investment company. It is a desirable permit for the relevant employees as it allows them to stay on the foreign payroll, meaning they are able to retain any unique benefits such as foreign pension contributions.
A disadvantage of this exception, however, is that because individuals with an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit are still employed by a foreign based employer, strict and specific criteria applies.
Some key conditions pertaining to the application process for this employment permit are:
- The Irish branch of the corporation must make the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit application
- The processing fee for a new Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit must be paid by the Irish branch and costs €500 for an Employment Permit of 6 months or less duration or €1,000 for an Employment Permit from 6 months to 24 months duration
As with the other types of employment permit, the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit can be applied for online and must be applied for at least 12 weeks prior to the proposed start date.
What is an Exchange Agreement Employment Permit?
The Exchange Agreement Employment Permit is aimed towards foreign nationals who are eligible to work in Ireland as a result of prescribed agreements or other international agreements to which Ireland is a party.
This employment permit may be issued for up to a maximum of two years duration, depending on the specific type of exchange agreement.
There are a number of agreements which are eligible under the Exchange Agreement Employment Permit, including:
- AIESEC – An organisation run by students and recent graduates which offers 3,500 members the opportunity to live and work in a foreign country on either development, education, management or technical traineeships
- The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) – An organisation aimed towards those studying architecture, engineering, IT or the sciences which offers participating countries to take up traineeship abroad
- The Fulbright Programme – The only official educational exchange programme between the governments of the United States and Ireland which finances study, research, teaching and other educational activities
- Exchange between St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia and University College Cork in conjunction with Bord Bia – The exchange of international food marketing students in order to gain work experience in major food companies
The application process for an Exchange Agreement Employment Permit follows the same structure as the other employment permits. One of IAS’ immigration experts in Ireland can provide you with step-by-step guidance or can complete an application on your behalf.
What is a Contract for Services Employment Permit?
The Contract for Services Employment Permit is for circumstances whereby a foreign contractor will provide services to an Irish entity on a contract for services basis. It enables the transfer of non-EEA employees to work on the Irish contact in Ireland.
This must be a one-to-one contract with an Irish entity and the employment permit can only be considered for the term of the contract.
Successful applicants can receive an employment permit for a period of up to 24 months. This can, however, be extended (subject to conditions) to a maximum of five years.
It should be noted that a permit holder after holding a Contract for Services Employment Permit for one year may apply for an alternative employment permit e.g. a CSEP or a General Employment Permit. The application will be evaluated in line with the normal applicable criteria and rules for the employment permit type.
An application for a Contract for Services Employment Permit must be made by the contractor. As with all applications for any employment permit, it must be received up to 12 weeks prior to the proposed start date.
What is a Sports and Cultural Employment Permit?
The Sport and Cultural Employment Permit is for foreign nationals who have the relevant qualifications, skills or experience to be employed in Ireland for the development, operation and capacity of sporting and cultural activities.
Either the foreign national or the employer are able to apply for a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit.
The duration of a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit will depend on whether the contract of employment is full-time up to a maximum of two years, or seasonal.
The holder of a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit may be eligible to extend their permit, upon application, by a further 3 years.
Non-EEA nationals who have held valid Sport and Cultural Employment Permits for 5 years or more consecutively and may not require an employment permit to work in Ireland.
This means that the employee may not need to apply for a new Sport and Cultural Employment Permit or for a renewal of their existing employment permit and can instead contact the Department of Justice and Equality to apply for a temporary Stamp 4.
What is a Reactivation Employment Permit?
A Reactivation Employment Permit is specifically for those who entered Ireland on a valid Employment Permit but, through no fault of their own, fell out of the system either due to being badly treated or exploited in the workplace.
The application process for a Reactivation Employment Permit is unique in that you must firstly apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for permission to be in the State for the purpose of making an application under this employment permit scheme.
Only once you have received both temporary Stamp 1 permission and a ‘Reactivation Employment Permit’ letter from the Department of Justice and Equality can you apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit.
The Reactivation Employment Permit typically applies to those who:
- Held an employment permit but fell out of the system through no fault of your own and remained in the State despite no longer being legally resident in Ireland
- Currently hold a Work Permit Employment Permit for a low skilled, low paid position and wishes to change employer but will not qualify for the General Employment Permit
- Currently hold a Spousal/Dependant or Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit however their circumstances have changed (e.g. separation)
- Have been made redundant whilst holding a Reactivation Employment Permit
What is an Internship Employment Permit?
The Internship Employment Permit is intended for foreign nationals who are full-time students, enrolled in a third level institution outside of Ireland, who wish to gain work experience in Ireland.
Either the foreign student or the employer can apply for an Internship Employment Permit.
An application for an Internship Employment Permit follows the general process outlined for all employment permit applications.
As with every employment permit, it must be applied for at least 12 weeks in advance of the proposed employment start date.
Internship Employment Permits are issued for a maximum of 12 months and are non-renewable.
However, an Internship Employment Permit holder may be eligible to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit or General Employment Permit during the 12-month period.
An IAS immigration expert can offer the expert legal guidance you may require for any employment permit application.
We have long-standing expertise in all matters of Irish immigration law and would be happy to help with any of your employment visa/permit enquiries.
Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025 for more information.
Work visa application cost and fees
The cost of Irish work visas and permits is listed below. Note that these figures may be subject to change.
|Type of visa/permit||Cost|
|General Employment Permit (up to 6 months)||€500|
|General Employment Permit (up to 2 years)||€1,000|
|Critical Skills Employment Permit||€1,000|
|Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit (up to 6 months)||€500|
|Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit (up to 2 years)||€1,000|
|Reactivation Employment Permit (up to 6 months)||€500|
|Reactivation Employment Permit (up to 2 years)||€1,000|
|Sport and Cultural Employment Permit (up to 6 months)||€500|
|Sport and Cultural Employment Permit (up to 2 years)||€1,000|
|Contract for Services Employment Permit (up to 6 months)||€500|
|Contract for Services Employment Permit (up to 2 years)||€1,000|
|Exchange Agreement Employment Permit||Free|
|Internship Employment Permit (up to 6 months)||€500|
|Internship Employment Permit (up to 2 years)||€1,000|
|Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit||Free|
Work visa processing time
The specific processing times for employment visas and permits will vary based on the visa office you’ve submitted your application to, as well as other mitigating factors such as the general volume of applications the office receives, the time of year and the complexity of your application.
However, generally speaking, it may take up to 8 weeks for your application to be processed.
The Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment posts up-to-date details on the applications it’s currently processing and from which dates.
Ireland Work Visa Duration and Renewal
Most Irish work permits can last for a period of up to 2 years, after which they can be extended for a further 3 years.
You will be able to apply for an extension on your work permit through the Employment Permit Online System (EPOS). It is recommended that you apply within 16 weeks before your permit is due to expire.
If you’re eligible, after spending 5 years of time within Ireland with your employment permit, you may be able to apply for Stamp 4 permission, which will allow you to work in Ireland without the need for a specific permit or visa.
The cost of work permit renewals will generally be €750 for those lasting 6 months or less, or €1,500 for those lasting longer than 5 months.
Last modified on October 13th, 2023 at 9:51 am
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The Van der Elst employment route differs in that individuals who wish to work in Ireland under this scheme are not required to apply for an employment permit to do so.
The scheme allows a non-EEA national who is legally employed in an EU country to provide services on a temporary basis to a company in another EU country on behalf of their employer.
This is strictly for a specific period of time (up to a maximum of 12 consecutive months).
Those who are from a visa required country must apply for an Employment (Van der Elst) Visa prior to travelling to Ireland. It is crucial that this application is filled out correctly with the adequate supporting documentation as, in some circumstances, you may not be allowed to appeal the visa decision and may be blocked from getting an Irish visa for 5 years.
For this reason, we would advise seeking the legal assistance of one of IAS’ professional, experienced immigration lawyers to aid with your application submission.
A significant amount of documentation is required with your Employment (Van der Elst) visa application. This includes but is not limited to:
- A letter from your employer in the sending EU country
- A letter from the Irish based host country
- A signed letter of application including your full contact details
- Evidence of your right to reside and work in the sending EU Member State
- Evidence of permission to return to the sending EU Member State following the termination of your contract in Ireland
For help with all aspects of your Employment (Van der Elst) Visa application, IAS’ team of immigration experts are here to assist you.
Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025.
Yes, IAS’ team of immigration experts have significant experience in renewing employment permits. We will assess your personal situation and depending on which employment permit you currently hold, can advise on whether you are eligible to apply for a renewal.
From here, we can undertake the renewal process for you or can provide a step-by-step guide on the actions you ought to take.
If, for example, you have already renewed your General Employment Permit previously and it is now reaching its expiration, you may be eligible to apply to INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service) for long term residency.
Those who have held a General Employment Permit for five years in total may no longer need an employment permit to work and reside in Ireland. Instead, IAS can help you to apply to INIS for Stamp 4 immigration permission.
With our application package, we can offer you the help you require with every aspect of your employment visa and/or permit application(s).
We know that Irish immigration law can be difficult to navigate, with every employment permit and employment visa application requiring specific forms of supporting documentation from both you and your prospective employer.
A dedicated IAS immigration specialist can strengthen your application, giving you the best chance of achieving the result you desire. This includes writing a Letter of Representation, outlining the key value of your employment visa and/or permit application.
With years of experience in all areas of immigration law, we know what makes a great application.
Call us today on (+353) 061 518 025 to enquire.
If you do not already have a job offer in Ireland, you will be unlikely to qualify for an employment permit.
Instead, you should aim to travel to Ireland with a suitable Irish immigration stamp that will allow you to seek employment.
The difference between a work permit and a work visa is what each one will permit you to do.
A work permit will allow you to actually undertake work in Ireland for a specific amount of time.
Meanwhile, a work visa is a document that will allow you entry into Ireland with the objective of working. Normally, only citizens of visa-required countries will have to apply for a work visa before travelling.
No. If you have a UK visa and you wish to work in Ireland, you will need to apply for a specific Irish employment permit (and employment visa, if you need to). Only EU/EEA and UK nationals can work in Ireland without an employment permit.
No. You will need to apply for a specific work permit to be able to work in Ireland.
Your spouse or partner may also be able to work in Ireland as your dependent only if you have certain employment permits or working in certain roles. These are the Critical Skills Employment Permits (CSEP), researchers on a Hosting Agreement and doctors with Stamp 1H.
If this applies to you, your spouse or partner should apply for Stamp 1G IRP.
Other dependents can apply for a Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit.
If you have any other kind of employment permit, your spouse must apply for a separate employment permit to allow them to work in Ireland.