Employment Permits for Non-EEA nationals

By Simon O’ Connor ,16th December 2014

A non-EEA national requires an employment permit in order to work in Ireland. The EEA (European Economic Area) consists of all member states of the European Union as well as Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Each employment permit is specific, meaning the permit holder can only work for the employer named on the permit. On October 1st 2014, The Department of Jobs and Innovation released 9 different types of employment permits. The original 5 permit types have been modified and 4 new permit types have been introduced – Reactivation Employment Permit, Exchange Agreement Permit, Internship Employment Permit and Sports and Cultural Permit. A Trusted Partner Scheme will also be introduced in January 2015. This scheme will give participants fast track employment permit applications from selected employers. Other main changes to the original permit types include – a new highly skilled occupation list which now includes detailed occupation specializations, a minimum of 39 hours must be worked a week by all permit holders except for the Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment  Permit and the minimum salary threshold has been replaced by minimum remuneration threshold.

 9 types of Employment Permits in Ireland

  • Critical Skills Employment Permit
    This permit is aimed to attract highly qualified employees. Eligible employees under this type of permit are deemed to be critically important to growing Ireland’s economy and in shortage in our labour market.
  • Intra-Company Transfer Permit
    This permit is designed to facilitate the transfer of employees from an overseas branch, to its Irish branch.
  • General Employment Permit
    This permit is for employees who have been offered a job and are qualified for the occupation. Labour market needs testing will apply.
  • Contract For Services Employment Permit
    This permit is for foreign companies who have been offered a contract to provide services to an Irish company.
  • Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit
    This permit is for partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit/Green Card Permit holders.
  • Internship Employment Permit
    This permit is for students to gain work experience overseas. The student needs to be in full-time third level education outside the state.
  • Reactivation Employment Permit
    This permit is for employees who have previously held a valid employment permit but have fallen out of the system through no fault of their own.
  • Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
    This permit is for foreign applicants who wish to gain employment in Ireland under a government-approved foreign exchange programme.
  • Sports and Cultural Employment Permit
    This permit is for applicants who have skills in sport and culture.
  • A non-EEA national may be exempt from requiring an employment permit under these circumstances:
    • Van der Elst Case
      In the situation where a non-EEA national was legally working in any member state of the EEA and was temporarily sent on a contract to another Member State, the employer does not need to apply for employment permits in respect of the non-nationals for the period of the contract.
  • A non-EEA national who has been granted permission to remain in the state on one of the following grounds:
    • Spouse or a dependant of an Irish/EEA national
    • Parent of an Irish citizen
    • Under Humanitarian grounds (Having been in the Asylum process)
    • Explicit permission from the Department of Justice and Equality
    • Registered student(Permitted to work 20 hours during term and 40 hours during holidays)
    • Under the terms of the Diplomatic Relations Act 1967
    • Swiss Nationals

Employment Permits for non-EEA nationals who have held permits for 5 years or more

If a non-EEA national has held an employment permit for 5 years or more they may no longer require a permit to work in Ireland. The Department of Justice and Equality can establish whether the permit holder qualifies for temporary Stamp 4 immigration status.

For more information on setting up your company in Ireland and to apply for a visa to live and work in Ireland, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Company Bureau.


Disclaimer This article is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Company Bureau for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this article. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of this article. Any and all information is subject to change.

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