Ireland Immigration

Work Permit for Ireland

If you want to work in Ireland and you are not a national of an EEA state, you probably need a work permit. Your prospective employer should apply to the work permit section of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. (You may not apply yourself.) Fees for work permits range from 65 to 500 euros, depending on the length of the permit.

Work permits are NOT required for:

Citizens of a member state of the European Economic Area, which comprises the European Union (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom), plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. An EEA citizen's spouse and dependent children - or children under 21 - do not require a work permit if the citizen is employed or self-employed in Ireland. The European Communities and Swiss Confederation Act 2001 also allows the free movement of workers between Switzerland and Ireland.

Non-EEA workers who are legally employed in one member state and temporarily working on contract in another member state. No permit is required for the period of the contract.

Post-graduate students working as part of their course of study. (The college should provide a letter stating that the student is studying). This includes post-graduate doctors who are temporarily registered with the Irish Medical Council and dentists with temporary registration).

Anyone who has been granted permission to stay in the state as:

Anyone posted on an intra-corporate transfer or secondment for up to four years to an organisation in Ireland which is owned by a company with operations in more than one state. (Immigration officers will require evidence, such as a letter from the company concerned).

Anyone coming to Ireland from an overseas company for up to three years for training at an Irish-based company, whether or not it involves paid work. (Immigration officers will need to see appropriate documentation).

Work permits are also generally granted where the prospective employee is:

Employers who apply for a work permit generally have to establish that they have made reasonable efforts to advertise the vacancy through Fas Callnet, but have been unable to find a suitable person who doesn't require a work permit. If the employer does not establish this to the satisfaction of the officer considering the application, the permit will be refused.

Work permits will be REFUSED where a prospective employee:

Non-EEA nationals who have permission to remain in the state as students are entitled to take up casual employment (up to 20 hours a week or full-time work during vacation periods). Once their permission to remain expires, they are no longer entitled to work. Having casual work will not, in itself, entitle them to stay. It is a breach of their student permit to work in full-time employment outside vacation periods.

Students allowed into the state must be able to maintain themselves while they are studying here. Expected income from casual employment will not be taken into account in deciding whether applicants have enough money to support themselves.

Students who want to continue working after they finish their course of studies will require a work permit. Unless the prospective employment is directly related to the course of studies recently completed, they will have to return home while the work permit is being processed and will have to apply for an employment visa to return to the state.

Applications for domestic staff will only be considered where the person has been in employment with the family abroad for at least one year before applying for a work permit.

In the case of ethnic restaurants, because of the specialist nature of these businesses, each restaurant may be granted a number of permits for qualified chefs and catering staff. The number of permits will depend on the nature and scope of the restaurant and the number of EEA nationals employed in the business.


How long does it take to process an application?

From receipt of a work permit application, it currently takes about four weeks to decide whether to issue or refuse the permit.

Who can apply for a work permit?

Only an EMPLOYER may apply for a work permit on behalf of a prospective employee.

How long does a work permit last?

Anywhere between one day and one year. A permit is valid from its commencement date and does not exceed one year. Applications for renewals should be made 25 working days before the current permit expires.

Can a person work while waiting for a work permit?

No, a work permit must be issued to an employer before the prospective employee can take up an offer of employment. Working for an employer in the state without a valid work permit is an offence under Irish law.

Does a non-EEA national married to an Irish national need a work permit?

Anyone who has been granted permission to remain in the state on this basis does not need a work permit to work in Ireland. However, they and their spouse should report to the Garda National Immigration Bureau with their passport and marriage certificate.

Can an employee change jobs?

An employee may only change employment after the new employer has obtained a work permit on for them. The vacancy would have to be advertised with Fas in the normal way. Also, the existing work permit should be returned to the department, with a covering letter from the employer.

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