Work Permit Employment Permit
Work Permit Employment Permits are the primary vehicle used by the State to attract 3rd country nationals for occupations which are experiencing a labour or skills shortage. Unlike Green Card Employment Permits where the State specifies eligible occupations, Work Permit Employment Permits assume all occupations to be eligible unless otherwise specified. Therefore, all occupations are eligible unless excluded under the list of Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits. Therefore, the main attraction of the Work Permit Employment Permit for prospective candidates is that it permits a broader range of occupations than the other types of Employment Permit. All occupations under the Highly Skilled Occupations List are deemed eligible.
A ‘Work Permit’ Employment Permit is an Employment Permit issued to the employee, which permits his or her employment in the State by the employer in the occupation and location specified on the permit.
Work Permit Employment Permits are issued for an initial period of two years and can then be renewed for up to a further three years. After five years, the applicant may apply to Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service for long term residency.
Criteria for Eligibility
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation examine a number of criteria when assessing Employment Permit applications.
As with most Employment Permits the issue of a Work Permit Employment Permit is contingent on a job offer from a bona fide employer registered with the Companies Registration Office and Revenue Commissioners and trading in Ireland. Full details of what is required are set out on the relevant application form and include:
• A full description of the proposed employment
• The employment named is not in an excluded job category under the Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits
• Information in respect of the qualifications skills or experience that are required for the employment.
• Annual remuneration (generally above ¤30,000). The Department considers applications on an exceptional basis with a remuneration lower than ¤30,000 in respect of:
➢ a non-EEA student – who has graduated in the last 12 months, from an Irish third level institution, and has been offered a graduate position from the Highly Skilled Occupations List;
➢ a non-EEA student – who has graduated in the last 12 months, from an overseas third level institution, and has been offered a graduate position as an ICT professional from the Highly Skilled Occupations List; and
➢ applications in respect of specialist language support and technical or sales support with a fluency in a non-EEA language for companies with formal support from the State enterprise development agencies.
Employer Main Criteria
The normal general criteria for employers apply, which seek to ensure that the employer is a genuine and legal employer, so as to give a level of reassurance that the employment rights of employee will be adhered to. Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation examine a number of criteria when assessing employers including:
• Applications will only be accepted from employers that are registered with the Revenue Commissioners and with the Companies Registration Office and which are currently trading in Ireland.
• The employment named is not in an excluded job category contained in the Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits.
• That an employer – employee relationship will exist in that the prospective employee concerned will be employed, salaried and paid directly by the employer.
• When the applicant is the employer the ratio of EEA/non-EEA nationals – an Employment Permit will not issue where at the time of application more than 50% of employees in a firm are non-EEA nationals. Please note that this requirement is waived in the case of employee applications.
• When the employer is the applicant a Labour Market Needs Test is required.
Employee Main Criteria
The main Employee criteria are:
• remuneration (generally above ¤30,000);
• the employment named is not in an excluded job category under the Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits;
• where the applicant is the employee a labour market needs test is not required;
• the prospective employee must possess the relevant qualifications, skills or experience that are required for the employment.
Spouses or dependents of Work Permit Employment Permit holders must apply for a separate Employment Permit in their own right unless the Work Permit Employment Permit holder received the Employment Permit before 1st June 2009/and marriage took place prior to 1st June 2009 in which case the spouse/dependant may also apply for a Spousal/Dependant Employment Permit.
Certain criteria may not apply or additional criteria may apply in respect particular occupations where the nature of the occupation is atypical of common employment characteristics, e.g. sports professionals etc. or in certain circumstances e.g. redundancy.
Please see the following links for further information.
A number of conditions attach to a Work Permit Employment Permit include:
• An employee on an Employment Permit for the first time is expected to stay with the initial employer for a period of at least 12 months (apart from exceptional circumstances) after which they may move employer provided that a new application for a Employment Permit is made for the same employment sector or to another eligible employment sector (a Labour Market Needs test is not required).
An application must be made on the official Applications Forms. Forms are available on the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation website. There are up to three stages in the passage of an Employment Permit application:
Pre-check Stage. This stage prepares the application for consideration by a decision maker. A variety of basicchecks are carried out in order to maximise the efficiency of the next stage, the Processing Stage. If an application is found to be wanting (e.g. application does not include payment) then the application is ‘rejected’ as incomplete. This is not a refusal – it merely requests the applicant to make the necessary changes to complete the application. The applicant can resubmit the corrected application. When the application passes the Pre-Check Stage the associated cheques are submitted for banking and it is placed in the processing queue.
Processing Stage: This stage is where the application is considered by a decision maker, an official with decision making authority. The processor will either grant an application or refuse it for specific reasons.
Appeal: Where an applicant wishes to appeal a refusal decision then he/she may do so within 21 days. The appeal will be considered by a separate and more senior official. The refusal of an application on appeal does not preclude the submission of a new application.
Fees for Work Permit Employment Permits
Fees in respect of Work Permit employment permits received before 1 June 2009
First application fee
¤1,000 up to 24 months and ¤500 for six months or less
¤500 for six months or less
¤1,000 up to 24 months
¤1,500 up to 36 months
Fees in respect of Work Permit employment permits received on or after 1 June 2009
First application fee
¤1,000 up to 24 months and ¤500 for six months or less
¤750 for six months or less
¤1,500 up to 36 months
If an application is unsuccessful then the fee will be refunded in full.
While the fee may be paid by a third party, current legislation restricts refunds to applicants only (e.g. if the applicant was an employee and the employer paid the fee, then the refund will still issue to the employee).
Where the employer is the applicant, in accordance with Section 23 of the Employment Permits Act 2006, the employer may not make any deductions from the remuneration of, or seek to recover from, the holder of the employment permit concerned any charge, fee or expense arising out of or concerning one or more of the following:
• the application for the employment permit or the renewal of the permit or any matter relating to or concerning such an application or the grant or renewal of the permit;
• the recruitment of the holder for the employment in respect of which the application was made; or
• any amount previously paid to the holder in respect of travelling expenses incurred by the holder in connection with taking up the employment in the State.
No fee applies to the following:
• Applications for unlimited permits (i.e. where the holder has been on an Employment Permit for 5 years for the same employer),
• Applications by an employer who is a registered charity, and
• Applications in respect of spouses of EU nationals.
The duration of a Work Permit Employment Permit is for the defined period requested.
Applications may be granted for a maximum period of up to 24 months in the first instance and may be extended upon application by a further 3 years after which it is envisaged that a holder would apply for long-term residency from the Department of Justice and Equality.
Holders of Work Permit Employment Permits for 5 years or more
Non-EEA nationals that have held valid work permits for 5 years or more consecutively and have been working lawfully during that time may not require an employment permit to work in the State. In these circumstances the proposed employee may not be required to apply for a new work permit or a renewal of their existing work permit and should contact the Department of Justice and Equality to apply for a temporary Stamp 4.
If you do not satisfy the qualifying criteria you will be issued with a Stamp 1 by the GNIB for 3 months and referred back to the Employment Permit Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. If you are referred back to us you should apply for a Renewal or an Unlimited Employment Permit.
In the event that you are not currently entitled to a Stamp 4 and still require an employment permit you should return the application to us with a covering letter clearly stating that you have checked with the Immigration Authorities and still require an employment permit.
Unlimited Work Permit Employment Permit
An unlimited Work Permit Employment Permit is issued at the renewal stage if an employee has been in continuous employment with the same employer for five years or more. An unlimited permit has a start date but no expiry date and entitles the employee to work for the specified employer for an unlimited period without the need to renew the permit. In the event that an employee on an unlimited work permit changes employment then a new work permit application must be made on their behalf. Applications of this nature should be highlighted by the applicant as an Application for unlimited Work Permit Employment Permit when applying. There is no charge for an unlimited work permit.
Following a successful application for an Employment Permit, and if Visa required, an applicant should apply to his/her local Irish Embassy/Consulate for an entry Visa. An online Visa application form may be found at www.inis.gov.ie. Contact details for Irish Embassies/Consulates and a list of visa required countries may be found on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at www.dfa.ie.
Any person wishing to enter the State, whether visa required or not, are subject to the usual immigration controls at the port of entry. Therefore, all relevant and supporting documentation, including the original Employment Permit, must be available for inspection by an Immigration Officer. Entry to the State is always at the discretion of the Immigration Officer.
An Employment Permit is not a Residence Permission. In order to be lawfully resident in the State, it is a requirement that all non-EEA nationals in possession of an Employment Permit must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). It is in the best interest of the persons concerned to register as soon as possible following arrival. Delay in registering with GNIB could affect applications in the granting of long term residency and/or citizenship. Immigration permission to remain should, where applicable, be renewed at least one month before the expiry date in order to avoid unlawful presence in the State.
In certain circumstances, an Employment Permit may be issued to persons already lawfully residing in the State on another immigration permission and who have been offered employment in a recognised Highly Skilled Occupation list. In this instance, on receipt of the Employment Permit, the persons concerned must register their change of status with GNIB.
Change of Circumstances
It is recognised that circumstances may change through no fault of the employee which renders them unemployed.
If a Work Permit Employment Permit holder has been placed on short-time working then the Department may consider applications for the renewal of such Employment Permit holders on a case by case basis.
If an employee is made redundant while they are an Employment Permit holder then they should notify the Employment Permit Section of Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation of the redundancy. An Employment Permit holder will have up to six months from the date of redundancy to seek alternative employment. New Work Permit Employment Permits will be issued in accordance with the Work Permit Employment Permit remuneration requirement and for eligible jobs. Where a Work Permit Employment Permits holder has been made redundant in a job title that is subsequently ineligible for a Work Permit Employment Permit, should they obtain a subsequent job offer with same job title then a Work Permit Employment Permit application will still be considered.
If the employee cannot acquire another job within six months of being made redundant they must contact the immigration authorities to establish their immigration status beyond that period. Should the employee opt to leave the country, and are later successful in getting another job offer in Ireland, they may apply for a new Employment Permit in line with employment permit policy at the time.
An employee who had entered the labour market legally, but through no fault of their own exited the Employment Permit system and wishes to regularise their position may contact the Employment Permit Section.
Cancellation of Employment Permits
In accordance with Section 24 (1) of the Employment Permits Act 2006 should a non-EEA national, for whatever reason, cease to be employed by the employer during the period of the Employment Permit’s validity the permit and any copies thereof must be returned to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation within 4 weeks from the date of termination or cessation. A person who fails to comply with this subsection is guilty of an offence.
All such permits which are returned to the Employment Permit Section in line with this will be changed to a Cancelled status on the Employment Permit Management System and these permits will no longer be valid.
This document will be updated on a regular basis.
Last modified: 20/05/2013