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Employment Permits for HGV (Truck) Drivers in Ireland

To tackle the HGV driver shortage in Ireland, the government introduced specific employment permits for HGV drivers in 2017. These permits can be obtained by operators with a valid CE or C1E licence from outside of the EEA.

If you want help getting an employment permit to drive an Irish HGV truck, read this article and contact Immigration Advice Service at +353 061 518 025 or visit us online.

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    Employment Permits for HGV Drivers Overview

    The EU and Ireland are facing a major shortage of HGV drivers. This is primarily because of eight to ten-week-long delays for local drivers wishing to take their HGV driving exam. The state has estimated that the nation is currently 3,000-4,000 drivers short of the required number of new drivers.

    To tackle this driver shortage, the Irish government lifted the quotas on work permits being given to non-EU drivers.

    Work permits for truck drivers are valid for a period of two years and require the holder to meet the host of requirements for a general work permit.

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    Specific Eligibility Requirements for Foreign Drivers

    The initial requirements to consider when applying for employment permits for truck driving that will tackle the driver shortage are those relating to the licence exchange agreements the Irish government has with other countries. According to these agreements, foreign licences equivalent to the Irish CE or C1E licences will permit you to drive trucks there.

    Currently, the Irish Department of Transport has signed licence exchange agreements with South Africa, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. The Road Safety Authority currently validates foreign licences. When you submit your application, make sure to display the front and the back of your licence so that all information can be used to verify the validity of your foreign licence.

    The final requirement for lorry drivers is to comply with road safety standards in the country while driving. This includes an expectation that you will earn a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence while you are in the country.

    Standard Eligibility Requirements for General Work Permits


    Holding an exchangeable driving licence to operate an HGV is not enough to secure a work permit. Instead, lorry drivers will also need to match the extensive requirements for the general employment permit. The main requirements to consider are as follows:

    • You must be a non-EEA citizen.
    • You must have a job offer.
    • You need a clean criminal record.
    • You need private health insurance with full coverage for private healthcare providers throughout the country.
    • You have the right qualifications to drive a truck.
    • You or your employer can pay the 1000 euro application fee.

    There are also a range of requirements about the job your will be going into, which can be broken down into the following categories:

    • Pay.
    • Occupation.
    • Labour Market Needs Test.
    • 50/50 Rule.

    The specificities of each category are laid out in the sections below:


    The basic pay requirement is a minimum annual salary of 34,000 euros (correct as of January 2024; this threshold is set to rise to 39,000 euros by January 2025). This requirement is intended to prevent the Irish government from having to support you while you are in the country. There are a range of exceptions that will apply if you are seeking a different trade in the nation, but this standard salary requirement will always apply to an HGV driver.


    Not all occupations are permissible for a general employment permit, although they won’t necessarily disqualify you from the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit Scheme and the Reactivation Employment Permit Scheme.

    The work that you cannot carry out on a general employment permit can be found in the Ineligible List of Occupations published by the Irish government.

    Luckily for HGV drivers, operating a truck is not on the Ineligible List of Occupations, and there is now no limit to the quota allowed.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on employment permit for HGV drivers. Contact Us

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      Labour Market Needs Test

      Your employer must show that they had sufficiently attempted to find an Irish or European Economic Area citizen to fill the role. They must have advertised the role in the country and the EU properly and in the following locations:

      • Department of Social Protection and European Employment Services for four weeks.
      • A national newspaper for three days.
      • A local newspaper for job websites such as Indeed for at least three days.

      Having failed to find an appropriate candidate through these pathways, the employer must apply for an employment permit within 90 days.

      However, there are some notable exceptions to this rule, meaning your role won’t need to pass a labour market needs test, including the following:

      • You were made redundant while on an employment permit.
      • The role will pay over 64,000 euros a year.

      64,000 euros is substantially higher than the average salary for truck driving jobs in the country so it is unlikely you will earn enough to not have to pass a labour market needs test.

      50/50 Rule

      The final eligibility requirement to be eligible for a general employment permit for truck driving is that the company you are moving into follows the 50:50 rule, which requires Irish companies to have no more than 50% of workers from outside of the EEA. Please note the following exceptions which apply to this rule:

      • The company is less than two years old, has a letter of support from Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland, and is a client of these institutions.
      • You will be the company’s only employee.

      Apply for a Truck Driving Employment Permit

      You must follow the standard process for applying for employment permits, submitting it to the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, rather than the Department of Transport.

      Using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS), you must provide the following information in your application:

      • Employer’s details, including evidence you will not upset the 50:50 rule.
      • Your details, including your previous stays in Ireland, qualifications, and current residency status.
      • An explanation of the work you will be doing as an HGV operator, including a proposed start and end date for your job.
      • You and your employer’s contact details.
      • Your proposed pay and the hours you will work each week.

      When you submit your application, you or your employer will also need to pay a 1000 euro application fee.

      Required Documentation

      All permit applicants, including truck operators, will also need to submit a range of documentation. This is on top of your truck driving licence, which will need to be your nation’s equivalent of the CE or C1E licence. The standard documents are as follows:

      • Your passport.
      • A PPS number if you have one.
      • Your residence permit or an immigration stamp if you are an Irish resident.
      • Job advertisement copies to satisfy the requirements for the labour market needs assessment.
      • Your employment contract displaying your wage, role or duties, and the start and end date of your employment.
      • A Revenue Commissioner’s statement for the company hiring you.

      If you want help getting an employment permit to drive an Irish HGV truck, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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        What Other Employment Permits are Available to HGV Drivers?

        The Irish state has a range of different permits, which may apply if you can’t access a HGV driver employment permit directly. Relevant permits that don’t require a job offer may include the following:

        • Dependent/Partner/Spouse Permit.
        • Reactivation Permit.

        However, please note that your non-Irish licence will certainly not be valid if you are on a different type of work permit. You will need to pass an exam for an Irish CE or C1E licence to be allowed to drive trucks.

        How Can IAS Help?

        Driving HGVs in the country is an ambition of lots of truck drivers because of the good rates of pay, high standard of living, and great culture. Ireland is working to attract more drivers, but getting a work permit can be challenging because of the complex general and specific requirements. Any errors in the documentation submitted by you or your employer can put the success of your application in doubt.

        At IAS, we have a team of lawyers who are experts in navigating the Irish immigration system. They have helped many of those seeking work in the country with their employment permit applications, providing assistance in compiling and submitting documentation. They also have great connections inside the Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment and can keep track of your application.

        Having decided that you want help from IAS, you can contact our team at +353 061 518 025, or visit us online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Your HGV driver’s employment permit will last for two years and can be renewed at the end of this period. However, your foreign licence will no longer be permissible at the end of this period, and you will require an Irish CE/C1E licence.

                  Currently, Irish drivers are facing delays of eight to ten weeks to take their CE/C1E licence test, so you must make sure that you leave plenty of time for this to be done before your permit expires.

                  The number of applications for any work permit in Ireland being refused or rejected is high. Rejected application was 1,466, and refused application was 1,466 during the first half of 2022.

                  However, you are able to appeal refused applications because “refused” refers to minor issues with the application. In this case, you must complete and submit a “submission of a decision for review” form to the Irish Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation within 30 days of receiving the refusal decision.

                  Make sure to use the form to properly explain why you are eligible for an HGV operator work permit in your appeal.

                  As a HGV operator, your permit will take eight weeks to process. However, it may take longer if there are major issues with your application or if you submit it during a busy time.

                  To limit the time you need to wait while your application is being processed, please make sure that you complete it as accurately as possible.

                  In some cases, your employer may want you to pay the application fee, which can be a disturbingly high expense at 1,000 euros. This is even more of an issue if your application is refused or rejected.

                  While rejected applications do not have refundable fees, refused applications are refunded 90%, so you will only lose 100 euros. You can expect to receive this refund within eight weeks of receiving the decision on your application.