Overview of Employment Permits in Ireland
Employment permits in Ireland are processed by the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation. The employment permit system was developed to allow non-EU/non‑EEA nationals to work in Ireland in jobs where there is a labour shortage in the market and where an employer cannot find an Irish or EU national to file the role.
The primary legislation governing employment permits are the Employment Permits Act 2003 (as amended), the Employment Permits Act 2006 (as amended), the Employment Permit Regulations 2017 (as amended) the Employment Permit Regulations 2018, and the Employment Permit Regulations 2019.
There are eight different types of employment permits available in Ireland, the most of which are the Critical Skills Employment Permit, the General Employment Permit, and the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit.
Under the Employment Permits Acts, it is a criminal offence to work without an employment permit when a person is a non‑EU/non-EEA national Ireland without any other type of lawful immigration permission allowing them to work in Ireland. Penalties of up to €250,000 can be enforced on parties who breach Employment Permit Regulations.
Non-EEA nationals who are currently in Ireland on a Working Holiday Authorisation or a Van Der Elst Transfer Permission cannot apply for an employment permit from within the State and must therefore leave the State should they wish to apply for a permit. Similarly non‑EEA nationals who are currently the holders of a Stamp 4 permission to remain, or persons who are resident in the Republic of Ireland without a valid immigration permission cannot apply for an employment permit without either leaving the State and applying from outside, or submitting an application to the Department of Justice seeking a change or regularisation of their immigration permission in order to apply.
Persons resident in the State on a valid Stamp 1,1G, 2, 2A or 3 may apply for an employment permit.
In order for an employment permit to be granted to an Applicant, it is necessary to prove to the Department of Enterprise, Business and Innovation that the Applicant possesses the skills, knowledge and qualifications in order to fulfil the position and that the employer was unable to secure an Irish or EU national to fill the role.
The Government policy is that employment opportunities which arise in the Republic of Ireland should, in the first instance, be offered to Irish or EU nationals.
In certain circumstances, employers are required to carry out what is called a Labour Market Needs Test before applying for an employment permit.
The link to this test is available on the following link: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Labour-Market-Needs-Test/.
The Labour Market Needs Test involves the employer advertising the position with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Employment Services/EURES employment for four weeks, in a national newspaper for three days, and in a local newspaper or employment website for three days. Evidence of the advertisements must be submitted with the application.
In addition, the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation has published on its website a large list of employments called the ‘Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits’ and if a role is on this list, then the position is not eligible for an employment permit even where the employer is unable to secure an Irish or EU national to fulfil the position.
The full ineligible list of occupations is available on the following link.
Either an employer or an employee can apply for an employment permit as the Applicant and it does not matter who the Applicant is.
A person cannot apply for an employment permit without a job offer and a signed contract of employment which must be submitted in support of the application.
An employment permit will not be granted if it will result in more than 50% of the employers work force being non-EU/EEA nationals. Exceptions to his rule are where the business is a start-up company within two years of establishment and is supported by the IDA Ireland or Enterprise Ireland.
The employer must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners and have a valid Employer Registered Number (ERN). They must also be registered with the Company Registration Office.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation charge filing fees in the range of €500 to €1500, depending on the permit being applied for.
An employees passport must be valid for at least six months in order to apply for an employment permit.
Visa required nationals must also apply for an entry visa to the State after the employment permit is granted and this application is submitted separately to the Immigration Service Delivery of the Department of Justice and Equality, who are responsible for processing visa applications.
Non visa required nationals do not require an entry visa but must show the original employment permit to the immigration officer at the port of entry upon arrival.
All employment permit holders must register with their local immigration office within 90 days of entry to the State in order for their passport to be endorsed with a Stamp 1 permission to remain and for their details to be processed for the purpose of issuing them with an Irish Residence Permit (IRP card) which is sent by post a number of weeks after the registration appointment.