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Working in Dublin

Given that 42% of Ireland’s GDP is accounted for by Dublin, it is hardly surprising that most expats choose to move to the Irish capital. The variety of sectors also contributes to the number of expats in the city. Read our guide on Dublin to learn more about work permits, the job search, and more.
Dublin's downtown districts have attracted many a multinational corporation and expat.
  • Before the economic crisis, Ireland was an economy to be reckoned with called the “Celtic Tiger”.
  • The economy is gradually improving and showing promise.
  • However, unless you earn over 30,000 EUR or have a high-skilled job, you may find the road to working in Dublin filled with obstacles.

The Home of Many International Companies

Working in Dublin is an experience similar to working in other major cities around the world, but it carries the distinct features of high globalization that the Celtic Tiger period brought to the table. Specifically, many key players in the international communications sector made a point of opening up shop in Dublin and even moving their European headquarters there, providing plenty of jobs for those looking for work. The favorable taxation legislation on foreign investments and the rising interest in working in Dublin from people worldwide due to excellent growth rates and business opportunities were beneficiary factors.

The capital has thus become a center for international business and the list of global communications giants with offices in Dublin is more or less a list of the biggest websites worldwide. Google, eBay, Microsoft, and Amazon all have scores of employees in Dublin-based subsidiaries. Although tourism is unfortunately not a choice for most of those expats who require a permit to work in Dublin, the city profits considerably from the incessant stream of tourists keen on getting a glimpse of Ireland.

The Expat Population in Dublin

At the height of the economic boom around 2006, Ireland had about 420,000 foreign nationals living and working in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and other industrial and economic centers. Despite Ireland’s traditional status as a country of emigration rather than immigration, the heightened interest in working in the capital brought the country its first significant rise in population numbers in decades.

With the onset of the global crisis, finding employment in Dublin or elsewhere in the country did not seem desirable or even possible to many, which caused emigration of foreigners as well as Irish nationals. As a result, the net migration rate declined rapidly, even if levels were still comparatively high; nowadays, they are even increasing again.

Issues Caused by the Economic Crisis

In the years of the Celtic Tiger, Dublin also gained importance for large, globally active banks such as the Citigroup and Commerzbank. Another mainstay and large employer during the years of economic zenith was the construction industry. The global financial and mortgage crisis has obviously had the most devastating effects on these sectors, and many who had been working in Dublin’s banks and construction companies suddenly faced redundancy.

Ireland was one of the first countries in the EEA which suffered the near-breakdown of important economic sectors and, while it is currently the fastest growing economy in the EU, it still has not completely overcome the crisis. The overall situation, however, is a lot more promising than it was at the height of the recession in 2009 and new opportunities are beginning to open up. Nonetheless, expats from outside the EEA might still find it somewhat tricky to get a job in Dublin, be it in the city center or the busy suburbs.

Stricter Rules for Acquiring an Employment Permit

As we have explained in detail in our article on moving to Ireland, if you are a resident of a country outside the European Economic Area, an employment permit is your key to moving to and working in Dublin. Ireland has tightened its immigration policies following the harsh blows of the 2008/2009 economic crisis, focusing on employment for Irish nationals and citizens of EEA member states and Switzerland first.

As an EU national, you enjoy freedom of movement throughout the entire area of the European Union. This, of course, also includes Ireland and Dublin. Due to the European labor regulations, you enjoy the same rights and privileges as Irish nationals without restrictions. Living and working in Dublin will thus come easiest if you are from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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