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Ireland General Work Permit

If you are a skilled worker and would like to work in Ireland, you may be eligible for the general employment permit. This permit allows you to take up employment in the Irish economy.

At Immigration Advice Service, our team of immigration consultants can provide comprehensive legal guidance and support throughout your application for a general employment permit. Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025 or online for immediate assistance.

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    What is the Irish General Employment Permit?

    The Irish General Employment Permit is a work permit that allows non-EU nationals to work in Ireland. The permit is valid for two years and allows the holder to work in any occupation except for jobs that are on the ineligible list of occupations for employment permits. To be eligible for the general employment permit, you must meet a number of criteria.

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    General Work Permit Eligibility Requirements

    Employer criteria

    The employer eligibility criteria for Irish General Employment Permits sets out the minimum criteria that an employer must meet to be eligible for an employment permit. According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, an employer must:

    • Be registered with the Companies Registration Office, and have a valid tax registration number;
    • Have been trading for at least 12 months preceding the date of application;
    • Have a satisfactory record of compliance with employment legislation;
    • Be able to demonstrate a genuine need for the position in question;
    • Be able to provide evidence of advertising the position in Ireland; and
    • Pay the prescribed wage for the position.

    In addition, the employer must also meet any sector-specific eligibility criteria that may apply. For example, the employer must be registered with the Construction Industry Federation in the construction sector.

    The employer must also demonstrate that they cannot fill the position with a suitably qualified EEA national. The employer must also provide a written contract of employment to the employee.

    Employee criteria

    The employee must:

    • Be a non-EEA national;
    • Possess the necessary qualifications and skills for the position;
    • Have at least one year’s relevant work experience; and
    • Meet the English language requirements.

    Suppose the foreign national is granted a permit. In that case, they are expected to work for the employer specified on the permit and in the position for which the permit was granted for at least 12 months according to section 12(1)(e) of the Employment Permits Act 2006.

    Salary requirements

    The job salary must be above the minimum threshold set by the Ministry for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation. As of January 2024, the minimum threshold for a General Employment Permit is €34,000 per year (a rise from €30,000 from the previous year). Additionally, the minimum threshold for those who work in home care, meat processing or horticulture has been raised to €30,000 as of January 2024.

    Note that the minimum threshold for all types of General Employment Permits is set to rise to €39,000 by 2026. The main General Employment Permit will see its minimum income threshold rising to this figure by 2025, whereas permits applying to those with income-based exceptions will rise in increments to €39,000 by 2026.

    Eligible jobs

    While the General Employment Permit is available for a wide range of jobs, there are some occupations that explicitly cannot immigrate to Ireland using one. These are listed out in the Ineligible List of Occupations.

    It’s important to check if your occupation is listed in this list before applying for a General Employment Permit. Some of the occupations included in the list (as of January 2024) include the following:

    • Pharmaceutical Technicians
    • Fitness Instructors
    • Counsellors
    • Finance Officers
    • Office Managers
    • Florists
    • Train and Tram Drivers

    In January 2024, an additional 32 roles were made eligible for a General Employment Permit where they were not before, such as butchers, bakers, pig farm assistants, social care workers and HGV mechanics. In addition, 11 roles were added to the Critical Skills Occupations list.

    Labour Market Needs Test

    How does the labour market needs test work?

    In order to ensure that foreign nationals looking to work in Ireland are only filling jobs that Irish or EEA citizens cannot fill, all employers must first carry out a labour market needs test.

    This involves advertising the vacant position on the Department of Social Protection Employment Services recruitment website for a minimum of 4 weeks.

    Also, the position must be advertised on at least one national newspaper and one recruitment website for at least 3 days. The advert must contain:

    • The employer and business name;
    • A description of the duties of the role;
    • The skills and experience required for the role;
    • The name of the employer;
    • The location of the job; and
    • The salary being offered.

    If there are no suitable applications from Irish or EEA citizens during this time, the employer can then proceed to apply for a work permit on behalf of the foreign national.

    The whole process is designed to protect the interests of Irish workers and ensure that non-EEA citizens are filling only genuine skills shortages.

    Where the labour market needs test is not required

    There are a number of circumstances in which the labour market needs tests not to have to be carried out. These include:

    • Where the position being filled is on the highly skilled occupations list;
    • Where the annual salary for the position being filled is at least €64,000;
    • Where the position being filled is in an occupation that falls within the eligible occupations list;
    • Where the position being filled is on the intracompany transfer list.

    Are you planning to get a general work permit in Ireland? We would be more than happy to assist you. Contact Us

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      The ‘50:50’ Rule

      The ‘50:50’ rule is a condition that applies to certain occupations on the critical skills occupations list.

      The rule requires that, when applying for the permit, 50% or more of the employees working in the company in Ireland are EEA nationals.

      Though, there are some exceptions to this rule. These exceptions are:

      • The company is new to the Irish market and is, therefore, not in a position to meet the 50% requirement; or
      • The employment permit was granted before the coming into operation of the ‘50:50’ rule on 1 October 2014; or
      • The employment permit was granted in relation to a job that the ida Enterprise Ireland has designated as being in an area of skills shortage.

      How to Apply for Ireland General Employment Permit

      The general employment permit application must be made online through the Employment Permits Online System

      The system will guide you through the process and generate the necessary forms, which must be printed out, signed, and dated.

      Here are the steps you need to take:

      Step One: Register as a user on the Employment Permits Online System

      The first step is registering as a user on the Employment Permits Online System. You will need to create a username and password and provide some basic contact details.

      Once you have registered, you will be sent an email confirming your registration. You will then be able to log in to the system and begin your application.

      Step Two: Login to the Employment Permits Online System

      Once you have registered as a user, you can log in to the system using your username and password.

      Once you have logged in, you will be taken to the homepage of the Employment Permits Online System.

      Step Three: Begin your application

      Click on the ‘Apply for a new permit’ link to begin your application. You will then be taken to the ‘Select application type’ page.

      On this page, you will need to select ‘General Employment Permit’ from the list of options and click on the ‘Proceed’ button.

      You will then be taken to the ‘Application details page. On this page, you will be asked to provide some basic information about the position you are applying for, such as the job title and a brief description of the duties.

      You will also be asked to provide some personal details about the applicant, such as their name, date of birth, and nationality.

      Step Four: Attach supporting documentation

      Once you have completed the Application details page, you will need to attach all of the required supporting documentation to your application. The list of required documents can be found on the Supporting documentation page.

      Step Five: Application fee

      Once you have attached all of the required supporting documentation, you will need to pay the application fee of €1,000.

      The application fee can be paid online through the Employment Permits Online System using a credit or debit card.

      Step Six: Submit your application

      Once you have paid the application fee, you will be able to submit your application. Once your application has been submitted, you will be given a reference number which you can use to track the progress of your application.

      There are up to three stages in the passage of an employment permit application:

      • Application received (awaiting processing): An email or letter will be sent to the applicant acknowledging receipt of the application and confirming the reference number. This usually happens within ten working days of the application being submitted.
      • Application processing: The next stage is when your application is being processed by a decision-maker in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. You can check on the progress of your application by logging in to the Employment Permits Online System and entering your reference number.
      • Application decided: The final stage is when a decision has been made on your application and you have been notified of the outcome. If your application is successful, you will be issued with an employment permit. If your application is unsuccessful, you will be given the reasons for the decision and you will have the right to appeal the decision.

      If you need assistance with obtaining a general work permit in Ireland, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Contact Us

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        After The Application

        Once you have applied for the general employment permit, you will need to wait for a decision to be made on your application.

        General work permit processing time 

        The processing time for applications can vary depending on the type of job and the number of applications received.

        If your application is successful, you will be issued with an employment permit. The valid employment permit will last for a specific period of time and will allow you to work in the specified job for the duration of the permit.

        Immigration and registration

        The general employment permit holder will need to register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) within 30 days of receiving your employment permit. You can do this by completing an online registration form on the INIS website.

        After you register with INIS, you will be issued a registration certificate. The registration certificate will allow you to reside and work in Ireland for the duration of your employment permit.

        General Employment Permit Duration and Renewal

        The general employment permit is valid for a specific period of time and can be renewed. The initial duration of the permit will depend on the length of the employment contract.

        The general employment permit can be renewed for three years, provided the employee continues to meet the eligibility criteria.

        Changing or losing your job

        If you change jobs while you have a general employment permit, you will need to apply for a new permit. The new permit will be valid for the remainder of the original permit period.

        You can apply for the new permit online through the INIS website. You will need to provide some personal information, such as your name and address, as well as some information about your new job and employment permit.

        You will also need to pay the application fee for the new permit. The fee can be paid online through the INIS website using a credit or debit card.

        If you lose your job while you have a general employment permit, your permit may no longer be valid. You will need to notify the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and employment within 28 days of losing your job, giving you 6 months to look for another job. You can also apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit.

        The Fees for General Employment Permit

        Fees for new applications for General Employment Permits

        The fee for a new application for a general employment permit is €500 for up to 6 months and €1,000 for 2 years. The fee can be paid online through the INIS website using a credit or debit card.

        Fees for renewals of General Employment Permits

        The fee for a renewal of a general employment permit is €750 for 6 months and €1,500 for 3 years. Payment is also made through the INIS website using a credit or debit card.

        Should you require any assistance with the renewal of your general work permit, we are here to help you. Contact Us

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          Documents Ireland General Work Permit

          When you submit your application for the general employment permit, you will need to provide some documents. The documents you will need to provide depend on your individual circumstances.

          You may need to provide:

          • Your passport or other travel documents.
          • A copy of your birth certificate.
          • A copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable).
          • A copy of your divorce certificate (if applicable).
          • A copy of your employment contract.
          • A copy of your qualifications.
          • Proof of your English language ability.
          • Passport-size photographs.
          • Details of a contact person.
          • Proof your employer has advertised the job.
          • The general employment permit application form.

          Ireland Residence Permit

          If you are not an EU/EEA member or Switzerland national, you will need to apply for a residence permit. The residence permit will allow you to live and work in Ireland for the duration of your employment permit.

          You can apply for a residence permit online through the INIS website. You will need to provide some personal information, such as your name and address, as well as some information about your job and employment permit.

          You will also need to pay the application fee for the residence permit. Once you have applied for the residence permit, you will need to wait for a decision to be made on your application.

          Critical Skills Employment Permit

          For those in highly skilled occupations, there is a fast-track application process for the Critical Skills Employment Permit.

          This permit is valid for two years and there is no limit on the number of renewals. To be eligible, applicants must:

          • Have a job offer from an Irish employer for a role that features on the Highly Skilled Occupations List
          • Have been offered an annual salary of at least €60,000
          • Hold a relevant level eight or higher qualification OR, in some cases, have at least five years’ relevant experience
          • Meet the general requirements for employment permits, including a labour market needs test

          Can I Bring Family Members to Ireland?

          If you have a general employment permit, you may be able to bring your family members to live with you in Ireland after 1 year has elapsed since the issuance of your permit. First, however, your family members will need to apply for a Family Reunification visa.

          They will also need to meet the general eligibility criteria for the visa, which include having a valid passport, proof of family relationship, and proof of financial support.

          Our expert immigration consultants are available to help you get a critical skills employment permit. Contact Us

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            How Can Immigration Advice Service Help?

            Apply for the general Ireland employment permits can be a complex and confusing process. Our team of experienced immigration specialists can help.

            Here are some of the services we offer:

            • Advising on the eligibility criteria for a general employment permit.
            • Assessing the likelihood of success of an application.
            • Preparing and submitting the application on your behalf.
            • Dealing with any queries you may have about the application process.
            • Providing ongoing support and advice throughout the duration of your employment permit.

            If you would like to speak to one of our experts, please get in touch with us today on (+353) 061 518 025 or online. We offer a free initial consultation, during which we will assess your eligibility for general employment permit applications and advise you on the best course of action, and offer the same advice as an immigration lawyer.

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