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Work Permits for Ireland

Despite the economic problems of the last decade, Ireland is still a popular expat destination. Now that the “Celtic Tiger” seems to be reemerging, many are attracted by the growing IT industry among other things. Our guide on moving to Ireland gives you an insight into destinations, visas, and more.
People from within the EEA do not need to apply for a visa or an employment permit.

Much like visas, there are a variety of different employment permits in Ireland depending on what you intend to do in the country and what you will earn. There are nine different types of employment permit, the most relevant being:

  • the General Employment Permit,
  • the Critical Skills Permit (former Green Card), and
  • the Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.

If you are an EEA or Swiss national, you will not need an employment permit as you benefit from freedom of movement. Otherwise, you will most likely need to apply for an employment permit before coming to Ireland to work. Both the employee and the employer can apply for an employment permit and you need to hold an offer of employment before applying. You can find the required documents on the various permit application forms.

General Employment Permits

To be eligible for a general employment permit, you must usually have a minimum annual salary of 30,000 EUR. In some exceptional cases you may be granted a general employment permit with an annual salary of 27,000 EUR.

You must have the qualifications, skills, and experience required for the job. Meanwhile, your employer must be trading in Ireland, and be registered with Revenue and with the Companies Registration Office to be eligible for a General Employment Permit. Your application must include evidence that a labor market needs test has been carried out to ensure that no Irish, EEA, or Swiss national could be found for the vacancy. In certain circumstances, this requirement is waived; you can find these on the Citizens Information site. It is also important to remember that if your career is listed on the Ineligible Categories of Employment List, then you will not be able to apply for an employment permit.

Your General Employment Permit will be issued for two years and upon renewal you will be issued one that lasts for three years. After five years of possessing a work permit, you may no longer need one as you can apply for long-term residence and exemption from the requirement to hold an employment permit.

The permit costs between 500 and 1,000 EUR depending on its length and you will be expected to remain with your new employer for at least twelve months. After this first year, you may be able to bring your family to live with you in Ireland but they will not be eligible for a Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.

If you need to apply, you can find information about waiting times and make a status inquiry through the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Critical Skills Employment Permit

Formerly the Green Card, the Critical Skills Employment Permits are handed out by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. You may be eligible for this permit if you earn more than 60,000 EUR per year or if your job is on the Highly Skilled Occupations List and you earn more than 30,000 EUR per year. As with the General Employment Permit, there are certain jobs which are not eligible.

Your job offer must be for two or more years and you must hold the relevant qualifications as specified by the permit application form. The permit is issued for two years, after which you can apply for a Stamp Four permission to live and work in Ireland without an employment permit. Unlike with the General Employment Permit, you may apply for your family to join you in Ireland straight away and no labor market needs test is required.

Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits

Spouses, recognized partners, civil partners, and dependents of researchers and holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits and former Green Card permits are eligible for this permit. You must, however, be legally resident in Ireland to apply for this permit. Unlike the other mentioned permits, you can earn less than 30,000 EUR per year as long as you are paid at least the National Minimum Wage.

These permits are normally issued for the period up to the expiry date of the registration card of the employment permit holder. You can then renew it afterwards. There is no fee for this permit but you do need to remember to re-register to obtain permission to remain in Ireland as an employee.

You can find more information about every type of employment permit on the Citizens Information employment permits page.


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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