Known for its growing technology and services sector, Ireland boasts one of the best economies in the European Union. It’s no surprise that foreign talent seeks opportunities in this country.
If you want to work in Ireland, you have to be familiar with their immigration regulations and get a work visa for Ireland. This article outlines work authorization types and procedures to help you start your journey.
Do I need a work visa in Ireland?
As a member of the European Union, Ireland follows its general immigration regulations. The following individuals do not need an Irish work visa:
- Citizens of EU member countries, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, the UK, and Switzerland
- Holders of a valid Irish Residence Permit
- Your travel document was issued by Ireland
- You are a family member of a Union citizen with a residence card
For other situations not listed above, or non-EEA nationals, you need a form of authorization to work and live in Ireland. This is in the form of an employment permit and an employment visa.
What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in Ireland?
Visa-required nationals who wish to work in Ireland need a long-stay work visa. You can apply for one of the following:
- Employment Visa
- This is the most common visa type and is dependent on your Employment Permit granted by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation (DJEI).
- Employment (Scientific Researcher) Visa
- Employment (Van der Elst) Visa
- Minister of Religion Visa
- Volunteer Visa
Applications are valid for up to 24 months in the first instance and may be extended up to five (5) years.
For an Employment Visa, you have to choose the appropriate type of employment permit for your paid activity in Ireland. The following are the types of permits:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit
- For highly skilled jobs and in a significant shortage of supply in the Irish labor market, such as ICT professionals. See also the Critical Skills Occupations List.
- General Employment Permit
- Occupations contingent on a job offer from a legal and registered employer in Ireland
- Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit
- Transfer of personnel from a multinational company’s branch overseas to its Irish branch
- Contract for Services Employment Permit
- For workers on a contract for services basis to an Irish entity for a maximum period of 24 months
- Exchange Agreement Employment permit
- For workers under international reciprocal agreements, such as AIESEC, IASTE, The Fullbright Programme, and similar
- Internship Employment Permit
- For full-time students who wish to gain work experience in Ireland
- Sports & Cultural Employment Permit
- For work related to the development, operation, and capacity of cultural and sporting activities
Your Irish work visa application must be accompanied by the supporting documents listed below. If you do not submit sufficient documentation, your application may be refused.
- Fully accomplished, signed, and dated visa application form
- Two colored passport-sized photographs taken in the last six months (your name and visa application reference number must be written at the back)
- Current passport valid for at least 12 months after your intended arrival date in Ireland
- Copy of all previous passports, if any
- Employment permit granted by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation
- Employment contract
- Letter from employer confirming your job details, salary, and accommodation, if provided
- Proof of intention to return to the sending EU member state
- Proof of qualifications and previous work experience
- Professional certificates, training certificates, personal tax statements, regular salary payments
- Proof of financial capacity
- Up-to-date bank statement in the last six months
- Travel medical insurance
- In some cases, travel medical insurance is not yet required in your application. However, if your visa is approved, you must present it to the Immigration Officer when you arrive at the port of entry
- If Van der Elst, a letter from your employer in the sending EU Member State
- If Researcher, copy of the hosting agreement
- If Religious worker, copy of the invitation from a religious organization
- If Volunteer, an invitation from the relevant organization
Additional Requirements For Critical Skills Employment:
- Labor Market Test from employer
- Proof of at least a 2-year job offer or contract
For General Employment
- Labor Market Test from employer
For Exchange agreement
- Letter from the exchange organization
- Proof of enrollment in a third-level institution outside the state
- Proof of offer of an internship
Detailed information for every work permit type is available on the website of the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment.
You must submit original copies, photocopies, and certified translations in case of documents not in English or Irish. State-issued documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc., must be apostilled by the relevant authority. Lastly, business letters must have the official header of the organization.
Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in Ireland
If you are a visa-required foreign national, you have to start your application six (6) months before your intended date of arrival in Ireland.
The best-recommended route for general Ireland work visa applications is through obtaining an employment permit. This means you need to find an employer in Ireland and accept a work contract.
Once you have signed an employment contract, you can proceed to the formal visa application. Be guided by the following steps:
1. Apply for an employment permit online
Begin by applying for an employment permit, which is predicated on your job offer from your prospective employer in Ireland.
You can apply for an Employment Permit online, but you must have:
- Scanned copies of required documentation
- A valid credit/debit card for payment of applicable fees
Access the EPOS or the Employment Permits Online System. Select “Apply for New Employment Permit” then choose the correct employment type. You will automatically be given a case-sensitive unique number, called MyWork-ID, which you can use to access the form in the database for 28 days.
Complete the Ireland work visa application form it presents and upload any document it requires. You can save a draft of your application, or you can proceed to submit it when you are done. Export your application form as a PDF file. Print it and affix your signature.
2. Pay employment permit application fees
After you submit your application, you will be redirected to a Payment Provider System to pay employment permit fees. Complete your bank details and click “Pay Now”. You will receive a unique EP reference number in your email which you can use to track the status of your application.
The employment permit process takes eight (8) to thirteen (13) weeks. After you receive a successful result, you can use the authorization document for your Ireland work visa application.
3. Apply for a visa online
Access Ireland’s AVATS online visa application form. Follow the instructions and fill in all the required information. Afterward, print out the summary form and affix the date and your signature.
4. Submit your application to the Embassy
Visit the Irish embassy or consulate in your country of residence to hand in your application in person. You may be required to submit your Biometric information as well.
Some applicants are exempted from visa fees, but in most cases, you have to settle the administrative costs your application incurs. You can find a complete list of fees here. From here, you can expect a decision from Immigration officers within eight (8) weeks.
I hope that this article on How to Get a Work Visa in Ireland was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!