In order to be legally employed, many expats will need to obtain a work visa for Ireland. However, citizens of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland do not need a work permit for Ireland and can generally work freely without one.

Those who do require a work permit will usually need an employment offer before applying. As a result, many companies handle much of the visa process on behalf of their foreign employees. There are various types of employment permits available for Ireland, each of which has its own requirements and process of application. 

General Employment Permits

Work permits for Ireland are issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and can be applied for by the employer or the employee, based on an offer of employment.

An Irish employment permit is typically valid for two years with options for renewal. Work permits can only be obtained for jobs that pay more than 30,000 EUR per year. The candidate must also have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience for the job. 

Critical Skills Employment Permits

The Critical Skills Employment Permit is aimed at attracting skilled expats to Ireland.

To qualify for the permit, the candidate’s proposed salary would need to be more than 60,000 EUR a year, or 30,000 EUR a year if the position is listed in the Highly Skilled Occupations List. The list highlights local skills and personnel shortages in fields such as IT, healthcare, construction and finance.

The critical skills permit is valid for two years and does not need to be renewed; expats may be granted a stamp for permission to stay for another two years when the permit expires, provided they are still working in the same occupation for the same employer and for at least the same salary stated on the permit.

If spouses and children of holders of a Critical Skills Employment Permit want to work in Ireland, they can apply for the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit. This allows them to take up a job in the country without having to meet the stringent requirements of other employment permits.

Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits

This permit is aimed at transferring employees within the same company. These employees need to either be senior management, attending training or otherwise have a good reason for transferring. If the expat leaves the company their work permit is also terminated.

Working Holiday Authorisations

Visitors from a number of countries may apply for a Working Holiday Authorisation. The WHA can only be used for casual work, and cannot be converted to an employment permit. Applicants must have proof of sufficient funds to support themselves for at least the first part of their stay or in the case of not finding work.

*Requirements for employment and work permits are subject to change at short notice and expats are advised to consult with their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.