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Ireland Sport and Cultural Employment Permit

Foreign nationals can apply for the Sport and Cultural Employment permit in Ireland. However, they must prove they have relevant experience, skills and qualifications in the sports and cultural fields.

Do you want to know more about the Irish Sport and Cultural Employment Permit? Contact us by calling +353 061 518 025 or messaging us online. At IAS, our lawyers are immigration experts and can help your business hire sporting and cultural talents from overseas.

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    What Is The Sport and Cultural Employment Permit?

    The government of Ireland replaced the sports professional category of its Work Permit with the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit. The permit allows employers in Ireland to hire foreign nationals who possess exceptional skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications in sporting and cultural activities to ply their trade in Ireland.

    One peculiar thing about this permit is that both the employer and the prospective employee can make the application. When the application is approved, a copy, certified by the government, is forwarded to the employer. The employee must work for the specific employer in the role and location approved on the permit.

    The validity of the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit depends on the kind of employment you are offering your prospective employee. It also depends on how long you want them to work for you.

    Note that you can get foreign nationals to work for you under this category on a seasonal or full-time basis.

    If it is the employee’s first time getting this permit for a full-time job, they must spend at least 1 year with you before looking for another employer. This is done so that employers can enjoy the services of the foreign national for a while, given the cost of sponsoring the said employee.

    It is also a trade-off for the employee who would not be tied to an employer for too long.

    There are conditions where the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) can permit your employee to change employers without completing 1 year. These conditions are:

    • Break down of the employment relationship due to reasons unaccounted for during the time of application.
    • Employer becomes redundant and unable to pay the employee.

    When the employee is submitting an application to be re-assigned to a new employer in less than 1 year, they must submit documents that prove the above-stated conditions.

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      Sport and Cultural Employment Permit Eligibility Criteria

      There are certain criteria that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has laid down. Both employers and employees must fulfil these conditions for the employment permit to be issued.

      Sport and Cultural Employment Permit Employer Criteria

      Below are the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit requirements for the employer:

      Employer Must Pay Minimum Wage

      If you want to hire from overseas, you must be ready to pay the Irish minimum wage or higher. Your rights to employ from abroad may be revoked if the DETE finds out you are paying lower than the minimum wage.

      You Must Be a Genuine Employer

      The DETE approves applications from businesses and employers that they deem legal and genuine. This is to ensure that you will abide by the rules of employment and will not tamper with the rights of the foreign employee.

      Below are some of the ways the DETE assess your eligibility as an employer:

      • The DETE only accepts applications from businesses and employers duly registered to trade in Ireland. Your company must be registered under the Revenue Commissioners, Companies Registration Office (if it applies) and Registry of Friendly Societies.
      • The DETE must confirm that your business will directly pay the employee. You are not permitted to pay the employee via agents or third parties.
      • The DETE must confirm that at least 50% of your staff are citizens of the European Economic Area.

      Employee Criteria

      Here are the criteria the DETE expects the prospective employee to meet:

      Employee Must Have Relevant Skills

      Any employee applying for an employment permit must show they have expertise or skill in a sporting or cultural programme.

      Employee Cannot Come with Dependents

      The employee must travel alone. The spouse, civil partner and children of the permit holder are not permitted to travel with the employee.

      There is no provision for dependents under this permit. If, however, an employee wants to travel to Ireland to work with the family, then the dependents would have to submit a separate application for themselves.

      Employee Must Commit to Stay with an Employer for 1 Year

      If this is your first time getting an employment permit in Ireland, you must understand that you must stay with your employer for at least 1 year. After that, you can get another employer or continue with the old one.

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        How To Apply For Sport and Cultural Employment Permit

        Overview

        If you want to start the application, you have to do so 12 weeks before the planned start of the employment.

        Note that the employer or employee can apply for the permit. Our immigration lawyers can also help you make the application. This is to ensure that your application is of the highest standards.

        If you want to know how to apply for a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit, follow these steps:

        Step 1: Apply for the permit at the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). When making this online application, you will be told what documents to present and any other requirements to meet.

        Step 2: Gather the documents that you need for the application. These documents will be submitted online with the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit application form. Here is a document checklist you can use to prepare your documents.

        Step 3: Pay the application fees. The fee is €500 if the duration of the employment permit is short-term. It becomes €1,000 if the duration of the employment exceeds 24 months. Attach the receipt to the documents you’ll upload to the EPOS.

        Should the DETE refuse your application, you will be refunded up to 90% of your money. The refund fee can only go to the applicant, regardless of who made the application and paid for the permit. So, if the employer pays the fee while the employee makes the application, the refund goes to the employee.

        Step 4: If the DETE approves the application, the employee can now proceed to the Irish Embassy or Consulate in their country and apply for an entry visa.

        Step 5: Upon successful entry into Ireland, the employee must visit the Garda National Immigration Bureau to register their presence in the country. This must be done as soon as the employee enters Ireland.

        If you have been in Ireland before the issuance of the employment permit, you do not need to apply for an entry visa. However, you must visit the Garda Naturalisation and Immigration Bureau to change your status.

        Stages of the Application Process

        The application process for the employment permit is in 3 stages:

        Received Application 

        This is the stage where the DETE receives the application and fees from the employee or employer. The application is then added to a queue depending on when it was submitted and the employer type (standard or trusted). Applicants can track their applications and Sport and Cultural Employment Permit processing times on the DETE status update portal.

        Processing Stage

        In this stage, the application is reviewed by an official in the DETE. The official decides on the application based on the information and documents sent in by the applicant. The official can ask for additional information or documents that can aid decision-making, and they have to be supplied within 4 weeks. After careful review, the officer either approves or refuses the application with reasons.

        Review

        If you get a refusal, you can appeal the decision by using the Submission of a Decision for Review Form within 4 weeks of getting the decision. A higher-ranking official will review your application. If the refusal is confirmed, you can reapply, provided you fix the reason for the initial refusal.

        Spectacles on top of a notebook

        Entry Requirements

        It is vital to note that an employment permit, though it authorises you to work in Ireland, does not permit you to enter Ireland. As such, you’ll still have to apply for an entry visa. Whether you’re using the Embassy/Consulate or a visa application centre, you must first fill out an online form for your entry visa. If you approach the Irish border with just the employment permit, you’ll be denied entry into Ireland.

        Sport and Cultural Employment Permit Validity & Renewals

        The validity of the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit is how long the employer wants you. The maximum duration a first-time application can get is 24 months. If your employer still needs you, then you’ll have to renew for an extra 3 years. After these 3 years, you can apply for a long-term residence permit at the Department of Justice and Equality.

        This renewal application is also online using the EPOS portal.

        You can apply for a renewal 4 months to the date your permit will expire and up to 1 month after the permit expires. You can keep working in Ireland while your renewal application is being processed.

        When applying for a renewal, below are the fees to be paid. Again, this can be paid by the employer or the employee:

        • €750 if the employment permit will last for 6 months or less.
        • €1,500 if the employment permit will last up to 24 months.

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          Rules For Holders of Sport and Cultural Employment Permits for 5 Years Minimum

          If you have held the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit for a consecutive 5 years or more, you may no longer need to apply for a renewal to work in Ireland. All you need to do is visit the Department of Justice and Equality to get the temporary Stamp 4 on your passport.

          If you do not meet the requirement to get the temporary Stamp 4, then you’ll still need to apply for renewals. For employees in this category, if you have been working for the same employer for 5 years, you can now apply for a Renewal Employment Permit for an unlimited duration for free. If you have changed employers over the 5 years, you’ll need to renew your permit and pay the relevant permit fees.

          Transfer of Undertakings

          Sometimes, businesses undergo changes that affect not just the employees but the employers. If your business is changing the name of the employer due to a merger or a sale, it is required that the DETE be notified.

          The employer whose name is on the employment permit must complete a Transfer of Undertaking form and submit it to the email of the DETE. The DETE will then confirm the merger details and change of business names. If satisfied, a new employment permit will be issued to the employee, and a copy sent to the new employer. This permit will bear the name of the new employer.

          If an outgoing employer fails to complete and send in the transfer of undertaking form, the employee will find it difficult to renew their employment permit.

          Circumstances For Cancellation

          Permits are cancelled if the employment relationship is terminated. Termination usually happens when there’s an unresolvable and unforeseen issue between the employer and the employee. It could also occur if the employer becomes redundant and unable to pay the employee.

          In this case, the employee must return the employment permit to the DETE. You, as the employer, must also return the copy of the employment permit in your possession. This should happen no later than 4 weeks after terminating the employee’s contract. This is so the DETE can update the EPOS that such a permit has been cancelled and is no longer valid. If you or the employee does not comply with this directive, you are breaking the law and will be held liable.

          Our qualified lawyers can assist you in all matters regarding the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit. Contact Us

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            How IAS Can Help You Obtain a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit?

            At IAS, we have competent caseworkers that can handle your applications. You can get in touch with any of our immigration consultants so that they can advise you on the best way to hire foreign talent. Employing from abroad can be stressful due to the paperwork and application process, but our lawyers are experts in the field and can take you by the hand and guide you through the process.

            We can review your documents to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for hiring abroad. We can also assist you in applying for an employment permit to the DETE and help your overseas employee apply for an Irish visa.

            If your employment permit application is denied, we can help you apply for review. Our legal advisers are also ready to guide you on any employment-based permits you may want to apply for on behalf of an overseas employee.

            Do you want to know more about what we can do for you? Call us at +353 061 518 025 or chat with us using our online contact form.

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                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      You can change jobs while holding a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit. However, you must meet certain requirements. You must have worked for your first employer for at least 1 year before you can change jobs.

                      It is possible to renew a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit. All you need to do is file an application for renewal on the EPOS portal. You can get up to 3 years extra on your employment permit.

                      You cannot bring your family to Ireland with a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit as dependents. If your family members want to move to Ireland, they’ll have to apply for a separate permit and visa that can allow them to enter and work or study in Ireland.

                      Employers do not need to conduct a labour market needs test before applying for the Sport and Cultural Employment Permit. But they have to prove to the DETE that the prospective employer has relevant skills, knowledge and expertise in sports and culture.

                      The minimum salary for an employment permit in Ireland is currently €11.30 hourly. This is expected to change by January 1 2024, to €12.70 hourly. This is the national minimum wage for employees aged 20 and above.

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