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Vets Coming to Work In Ireland: Requirements

Working as a veterinarian in Ireland can be complex, with various requirements and procedures to consider. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of what veterinarians need to know before relocating.

For expert assistance and guidance through every step of this journey, contact the Immigration Advice Service at +353 061 518 025. Our team offers personalised support to ensure a smooth transition to working in Ireland.

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    Moving To Ireland For Work As a Vet: Requirements

    Moving to Ireland to work as a veterinarian involves understanding various requirements, especially qualification eligibility, necessary documentation, and additional criteria. Here is a comprehensive overview:

    Qualification Eligibility

    To work as a veterinarian in Ireland, one must meet specific academic and professional criteria:

    • Mandatory possession of a veterinary degree from a recognised institution for eligibility to work in Ireland.
    • Compulsory registration with the Irish Veterinary Council for legal practise in Ireland.
    • Existing bilateral agreements simplify movement and employment procedures for veterinarians from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland.
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      Document Checklist

      Essential documents required include:

      • A valid passport is essential for international travel and processing visa applications.
      • Qualification certificates, including degrees and certifications, are required to prove veterinary qualifications.
      • Documentation demonstrating registration or eligibility for registration with the Irish Veterinary Council is mandatory.
      • Non-EU/EEA nationals must legally obtain a work visa or permit to work in Ireland.
      • The Labour Market Needs Test, applicable for certain employment permits, is conducted to ensure the local workforce cannot adequately fill the role.

      Additional Requirements

      • Proficiency in English is typically necessary for veterinarians working in Ireland, although specific testing may not always be necessary.
      • Veterinarians from non-EU/EEA countries may need to obtain a visa based on their nationality. Additionally, a General Employment Permit, usually applied for before arriving in Ireland, is often a requirement for legal employment.
      • Meeting a minimum salary threshold is crucial for certain employment permits, ensuring compliance with Irish employment standards.
      • Qualifications obtained outside the EU may require recognition or equivalency checks to ensure they meet the standards set by Irish authorities, making them valid for professional use in Ireland. This process is vital for ensuring that the qualifications align with what is expected in the Irish veterinary sector, maintaining a high standard of veterinary practice.

      Hiring Vets From Overseas: Employer's Requirements

      Specific legal and procedural requirements must be addressed for employers in Ireland looking to hire veterinarians from overseas. This guide provides an overview of these obligations and the necessary steps in the hiring process.

      Legal Obligations

      • Employers must ensure compliance with Irish employment laws, including offering equal employment conditions and conforming to national salary standards.
      • For non-EU/EEA veterinarians, employers may need to assist in obtaining the appropriate Irish work permits or visas. This involves understanding the different types of permits available and their respective requirements​​​​.
      • Employers should verify that overseas veterinarians are registered or eligible to register with the Irish Veterinary Council, a mandatory requirement to practise in Ireland​​.

      Application Process for Employers

      • The first step is extending a formal job offer and preparing an employment contract that aligns with Irish legal standards.
      • Suppose the veterinarian is from a non-EU/EEA country. In that case, the employer may need to provide documentation to support their visa application, such as proof of the job offer and employment contract details.
      • In certain cases, before applying for an employment permit, the employer might need to conduct a Labour Market Needs Test to demonstrate that an EU/EEA national​​ cannot fill the position.
      • The employer must apply for the relevant employment permit for the veterinarian. This could be a General Employment Permit or a Critical Skills Employment Permit, depending on the role and qualifications of the veterinarian.
      • Assist the veterinarian in registering with the Irish Veterinary Council if they have not already done so.
      • Relocation support can be an important aspect of the hiring process. This may include assistance with finding accommodation, understanding local tax obligations, and integrating into the local community.

      If You Are an Non EU or EEA Citizen: Applying For Work Permit & Visa Process

      Obtaining a work permit and visa is critical for non-EU/EEA veterinarians seeking to work in Ireland. This guide outlines the key requirements and steps involved in this process.

      Ireland Veterinary Work Permit Application Steps

      • Secure a job offer from an employer in Ireland. This is a prerequisite for applying for a work permit.
      • Identify the appropriate type of work permit. The most common permits for veterinarians are the Critical Skills Employment Permit and the General Employment Permit​​​​.
      • Ensure the job offer meets the minimum salary requirement, generally €30,000, but can vary based on the specific permit and role​​.
      • The employer may need to conduct a Labour Market Needs Test for a General Work Permit, proving that an Irish or EU/EEA national​​cannot fill the position.
      • Submit the work permit application to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI). This can be done by either the employer or the employee.
      • The standard work permit application fee is around €1,000​​.

      Visa Application Process

      • It’s important to check whether a visa is necessary to enter Ireland, as not all non-EU/EEA nationals must have one. This depends on individual nationality and the specific immigration regulations of Ireland.
      • Essential documents for the visa application process include the work permit, proof of a job offer in Ireland, a valid passport, and any other relevant documentation that supports the visa application.
      • In cases where a visa is required, the application should be submitted through the nearest Irish embassy or consulate, ensuring compliance with their specific application guidelines and procedures.
      • The visa application process involves paying a fee, which varies based on the visa type and the intended duration of stay in Ireland.

      Processing Times and Fees

      Work Permit Processing Time

      The processing time for a work permit typically ranges from 6 to 8 weeks.

      Visa Processing Time

      The processing time for a visa can range from 3 to 4 weeks and can be extended based on several factors, such as the volume of applications and individual circumstances.


      The cost of a work visa varies, generally between €500 and €1,000. This fee depends on the permit’s validity period, with a six-month permit costing around €500 and a two-year permit priced at approximately €1,000. These fees are essential for budgeting the overall costs of relocating and working in Ireland.

      Whether you are a business wanting to bring a veterinarian from abroad or an individual, our immigration team can help you. Contact Us

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        How To Register to Work as a Vet in Ireland

        Registered with the appropriate organisation is mandatory for veterinarians looking to practise in Ireland. This section provides a step-by-step guide on registering as a vet in Ireland and highlights key associations relevant to the veterinary profession.

        Registration Steps

        • Ensure you meet the registration eligibility criteria, including holding a recognised veterinary qualification.
        • Apply to the Veterinary Council of Ireland, the competent authority for veterinary surgeons in Ireland. This is a legal requirement for all veterinarians planning to work in the country​​.
        • Include proof of your qualifications as a veterinary surgeon with your application. This step is necessary to establish and obtain a licence to engage in veterinary medicine services in Ireland​​.
        • There are fees associated with the registration process. The fee for first-time registration with the Irish Veterinary Council varies throughout the year: €620 from January 1 to March 31, €495 from April 1 to June 30, €370 from July 1 to September 30, and €240 from October 1 to December 31.
        • Demonstrate competency in English, which is required for effective communication in the Irish veterinary field​​.

        Professional Bodies and Associations

        The Veterinary Council of Ireland serves as the regulatory authority for veterinary surgeons in Ireland, with mandatory registration required for all veterinary professionals.

        The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) governs UK and Northern Ireland vets. It is relevant for qualified veterinarians interested in practising in these regions.

        How IAS Can Help

        The Immigration Advice Service is an invaluable resource for veterinarians planning to move and work in Ireland. Specialising in immigration and work permit processes, IAS provides comprehensive assistance to navigate the complexities of obtaining the necessary permits and visas. Their expertise ensures that veterinarians meet all legal requirements for working in Ireland, simplifying what can often be a complex process.

        IAS’s services extend to assisting with the registration process with the Veterinary Council of Ireland, offering step-by-step guidance to ensure successful registration. Recognising the uniqueness of each individual’s situation, they provide personalised advice tailored to the specific needs and concerns of veterinarians relocating to Ireland. For detailed assistance, veterinarians are encouraged to contact IAS at +353 061 518 025.

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