Arrangements for Non-Eea Doctors Working in The State Commencing 1 January 2014

New arrangements have been agreed between INIS, the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation regarding the immigration and employment permits regime to be applied in respect of non-EEA doctors (including locum doctors) working in the State.

1. Employment Permit requirement – from 1 March 2014

From 1 March 2014, all non-EEA doctors working in the State, whether in a public or private hospital, will be required to hold an Employment Permit issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Detailed information in relation to employment permit policy and application procedures may be found at

The duration of the immigration permission issued by INIS will be linked to the duration of the Employment Permit. Therefore, doctors will be granted an immigration permission of either 6 months or one year subject to the duration of the contract as stated on the Employment Permit.

2. Transitional Administrative Arrangements from 1 January 2014 to 28 February 2014 for Doctors working as SHO/Registrars in Public Hospitals

Between 1 January 2014 and 28 February 2014, SHOs and Registrars wishing to register for the first time and any doctors wishing to renew registration during these two months will be granted immigration permission Stamp 1 for a period of either the duration of the employment contract or for a period of 12 months, whichever is the lesser.

The current practice of granting permission for a two year period will cease as of 1 January 2014.

Note: Doctors holding Stamp 4 may be renewed on Stamp 4 for two years provided they are still continuing to practice medicine.

3. Doctors coming to Ireland to sit the PRES Examination – as from 1 January 2014

Doctors will be permitted to enter the State to sit the PRES examination. However, all doctors who are granted permission to do so must leave the State on completion of the examination. If successful in this examination doctors may only re-enter the State with an Employment Permit issued by the Department of Enterprise and Innovation and the appropriate visa where applicable.

An Employment Permit will not be granted to persons remaining in the State without the correct landing permission and, where applicable, the correct entry visa. This is in line with current practice in respect of all areas of employment. Doctors who fail the exam and wish to repeat it must apply to do so from outside the State.

Doctors who do not comply with the requirement to leave the State and therefore who remain illegally in the State will not be eligible to apply for an Employment Permit.

4. Doctors coming to Ireland for Interviews in the Public or Private Sector

Where an employer wishes to interview a qualified doctor who is currently residing outside the State, in advance of making an offer of employment, the recently introduced “Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation” – agreed between the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Justice and Equality (INIS) – may be utilised in line with the conditions published on the websites of both Departments – Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation.

5. Locum Doctors

The following new arrangements will apply to –

(a) doctors entering the State to work as a locum and
(b) doctors currently working in the State as a Locum and seeking renewal.

(i) With effect from 1 March 2014, doctors who provide locum services but who hold employment contracts with and are remunerated directly by a hospital (public or private) will be required to apply for an Employment Permit in line with the new requirements set out in Section 1.

(ii) Atypical Working Scheme and Locum Doctors

With effect from 1 July 2014, new administrative arrangements will be put in place for locum doctors who remain the employees of an Agency i.e. locum doctors not directly paid or employed by a hospital (public or private). This category of locum doctor will be allowed work for a maximum period of six months in Ireland as a locum doctor or as an employee of an Agency.

Doctors falling under this category must apply under the Atypical Working Scheme prior to seeking entry to the State.  Information regarding this Scheme is available on the INIS website – Atypical Working Scheme Guidelines.

As an exception to the normal rule under the Atypical Working Scheme, a doctor working as a Locum may be granted immigration permission for up to six months rather than 90 days. The fee will remain the same.

Doctors working as a locum in the manner described above will only be granted immigration permission Stamp 1 up to a maximum of six months. At the end of this permission the doctor must then either leave the State or, should he/she wish to remain and work as a doctor, he/she must have secured an offer of employment from a hospital as an employee and have obtained an Employment Permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation prior to the expiry date of the six month immigration permission.

Transitional arrangements to 1 July 2014 – Any doctors who are currently working as self-employed or Agency locums, or present for first time registration under this category during this transitional period up to 1 July 2014, may be granted Stamp 1 immigration permission to the end of 2014 or to the end of their contract – whichever is the earlier.

6. Conditions

(i) No doctor may take up employment in any capacity until he/she is registered with the Medical Council of Ireland.

(ii) No doctor may take up employment in any capacity until he/she is registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau and lawfully holds a Certificate of Registration (GNIB card).

(iii) The Employment Permit arrangements must be complied with.

(iv) Doctors employed in the State must ensure that they are tax compliant.

(v) All hospitals should satisfy themselves that the doctor has complied with the above requirements prior to engaging him/her in employment.

Important: Failure to comply with these conditions may result in an immigration permission being revoked.

7. Registration Arrangements

Doctors who present to the Garda National Immigration Bureau or their local registration officer for first time registration or renewal may be registered on production of the following documentation –

(a) A valid passport.

(b) Original Certificate of Registration from the Medical Council (or, where the Certificate of Registration is pending, a printout from the Medical Council’s Register endorsed by the HSE or employing hospital will be accepted).

(c) From 1 March 2014 – a valid Employment Permit if taking up an employment contract with a public or private hospital.

(d) From 1 July 2014 –

• in relation to  locum doctors who remain the employees of a locum Agency, a contract for service, if providing services to a Hospital/Agency or

• a contract of employment if an employee of an Agency.

Please note that doctors holding immigration permission Stamp 1 may not set up any type of business, medical or GP practice without applying for specific business permission to do so. See the Immigration/Business Permission section of this website for further information in this regard.

8. Observerships

In line with current policy, immigration permission will not be granted to a doctor offered the post of observership in either private or public hospitals.

Sinnott Solicitors.

30 1 2014