What is the Internship Visa?
The Irish State offers some prosperous and advantageous internship opportunities that many people from all over the world flock to in order to enhance their career prospects.
However, it is not an independent visa on its own but rather a type of Employment Permit. The Internship Employment Permit can be applied to either a Long Stay (D route) or Short Stay (C route) and replaces the old model of the Internship class of the Work Permit.
Being eligible for this route depends on the applicants’ individual and personal circumstances, but at the very least the foreign national coming to Ireland must be paid for their work experience or placement. It is only available to those who are full-time students and who are enrolled in a third level institution outside of the State.
Although the applicant will need to seek entry permission to surpass the Irish border and remain in the State legally, they will also need employment permission from a legally recognised employer. That being said, either the applicant OR the employer can apply for the Internship Employment Permit on the applicant’s behalf.
How can IAS help me?
The Immigration Advice Service is well-versed in helping applicants secure their Internship Permit into the State. Our dedicated and OISC-accredited immigration lawyers are fully equipped to advise you based on your personal circumstances – or can even fill out your application for you to maximise your chances of success.
Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025 to find out more.
The Internship Permit and Atypical Working Scheme application process
To apply for an Internship Employment Permit (the Intern Visa), applicants must first receive immigration permission to be on a paid placement within the State and they must apply from outside Ireland. Without verifiable permission, such as a job offer with evidence of an employment contract, applicants will not be eligible to work as an intern.
The application process dictates that hopeful candidates should apply 3 months before they intend on travelling to Ireland. Once a job offer has been secured, applicants can either seek an Internship Employment Permit or Atypical Working Scheme permission. Both of these permits are established by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI).
Applicants should seek legal advice to find out which permit route best suits them.
What is the Internship Permit criteria?
As a rule of thumb, interns seeking a permit into Ireland must be enrolled in a full third-level course as a student. They must be able to prove that the internship is either for a beneficial experience that is related to their course of study or crucial to progressing forward on their course.
Other key criteria include:
- Being offered a job offer that pays National Minimum Wage or higher
- Fulfilling a role that is on the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List
- Providing evidence that the applicant will leave the State to complete their course of study at the end of the internship
- Providing evidence of any financial support granted to the intern, whether by their prospective employer or academic institution
In addition to securing a job offer, the internship must be approved by the university institution that the student is studying at.
What is the Atypical Working Scheme criteria?
The Department of Justice and Equality (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service – INIS) alongside the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation administers the Atypical Working Scheme.
The purpose of this particular scheme is to provide a streamlined route for applicants who are deemed high skilled.
The key criteria of this route are as follows:
- Applicants must be able to fill a position that is deemed in shortage of skills – this can be a specialised or high skill to an industry, specific business or academic institution
- Applicants internship or short-term employment must be facilitated by wages
- Applicants must secure an Atypical Working Scheme letter of approval which remains valid for 90 days after the date of issue
- Applicants must seek the appropriate entry permission before they step foot in Ireland
Paid Researchers and Locum Doctors employed by an agency to work in a general practice, the hospital sector or primary care sector should apply through this route.
Applying for an Intern Permit as an employer
To apply on behalf of a prospective candidate to come and work in your firm or businesses, the normal criteria for employers apply. This means that employers must be genuine and legal, and that this will be assessed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Generally speaking, to apply employers must ensure that they are registered with the Revenue Commissioners and (if applicable) the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies.
Employers must also be able to demonstrate that they intend on paying the employee while under their employment.
As a rule of thumb, permits will not be issued to an employer unless over half of all employees in the firm are EEA nationals.
However, a Labour Market Needs Test will not need to be conducted to verify an Internship Employment Permit.
Contact the IAS to see how we can help your business recruit interns from abroad on (+353) 061 518 025.
How much does the Internship Permit cost?
The fees for this visa depends on how long you intend on staying in Ireland.
The costs of the visa are as follows:
The Long Stay D Visa route – €60
The Short Stay C Visa route – €60
Multiple Entry Visa – €100
However, you must also consider your Employment Permit or Atypical Working Scheme fees which are different from visa fees.
For example, the Internship Employment Permit costs €1,000 up to 12 months and €500 for six months or less.
There may be some cases where you can apply for a fee waiver but employers cannot apply for any deductions or expenses on the applicant’s behalf.
In the event that the application is unsuccessful, 90% of the fee will be refunded.
How long does it take to process?
The application process can take a lengthy time, and all applications are reviewed in chronological order.
However, generally speaking, applications for any type of employment permit must be submitted at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date. This is to make room for any potential errors in your application.
There are three main steps to consider around how long the application takes.
Step one – Application received. In this stage, the application has been received and will be put into a queue to be assessed by date order.
Step two – Processing. At this point, applications are thoroughly assessed by a decision-maker in the Irish State. Once a decision has been made, the applicant will be informed of the verdict.
Step three – Review. In the event that the application was refused for whatever reason, the applicant has a 28-day window to submit a Review Form and make any amendments.
Evidently, it is of utmost importance that applications minimise the chances of their application needing to go to the ‘review’ stage. To do this, it is best practice to seek professional, legal advice.
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Since applicants only intend on coming to the State for a short period of time to fulfil an internship position, family members are generally not allowed to come as dependents of this visa type. However, loved ones will still be able to apply for their own visas independently.
This visa category only covers those who are coming to the Republic of Ireland. This means that applicants are not permitted to enter or travel to Northern Ireland as this falls under UK immigration law.
However, if you do obtain a UK Visa, for example a Tourist Visa, you will be able to enter Ireland again providing you have secured a multiple entry visa.