What is the Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
An Exchange Agreement Employment Permit enables the employment of a foreign national in Ireland. The Permit can be applied for by the foreign national themselves, or their prospective employer based in Ireland.
Regardless of who applies, once approved the permit will be sent directly to the foreign national with a copy going to their employer.
This process then allows the foreign national to enter Ireland and is then permitted to commence their employment in the job role agreed with their employer.
Exchange Agreement Employment Permits may be issued for up to a maximum duration of 2 years.
Requirements for candidates
Applications from foreign nationals will only be accepted where:
- The financial compensation offered is the National Minimum Wage or higher.
- They possess the relevant qualifications, skills, knowledge or experience for the occupation.
- The exchange or international agreement applies to the foreign national concerned and the application is supported by a letter from the exchange organisation, and goes through the correct legal processes.
Requirements for employers
The normal 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.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment examines 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/Registry of Friendly Societies, if applicable, and which are currently trading in Ireland.
- That an employer – employee relationship will exist in that the prospective employee concerned will be employed, salaried and paid directly by the employer.
- An employment permit will not issue unless at the time of application 50% or more of the employees in a firm are EEA nationals.
- A Labour Market Needs Test is not required for an Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
The application process
An application for any employment permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date.
An application can be made online on the Employment Permits Online System. The application will go through 3 stages:
- Application received: Once an application has been submitted by the employee or employer, and the relevant fees have been paid, the application is then placed in a queue. Applications are processed in date order by Employer Type, which is trackable. Specific application processing times are also available to view.
- Processing stage: This stage is where the application is considered by an official. The processor may request additional information, if required, which should be returned within 28 days. The processor will then either grant or refuse an application.
- Review: Where an applicant wishes a refusal decision to go to review then they may do so within 28 days. The confirmation of a refusal decision on review does not preclude the applicant from submitting a new application following all of the relevant procedures for the specific employment permit type.
There is no processing fee for an Exchange Agreement Employment 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.
Contact details for Irish Embassies/Consulates and a list of visa required countries may be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
Any persons 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.
It is in the best interest of the persons concerned to register as soon as possible following arrival.
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.
Holders of Exchange Agreement Employment Permits do not accrue rights for long term residency purposes as the permit is available on the basis that the employment is temporary.
How can IAS help?
We can offer you comprehensive advice with navigating your employment permit type, as well as working for a foreign company. Our specialist knowledge can aid you in your journey to Irish naturalisation, employment transfer, or settling in Ireland permanently.
Our team of qualified immigration lawyers are here to help you and your family with your plans to relocate abroad.
With years of knowledge and experience with helping our clients with successful immigration cases, get in contact today to start the process of your ideal immigration status.
For more information on how we can help you on your journey to studying in Ireland, call our team today on (+353) 061 518 025 who can assess you to find out your visa requirements
Frequently Asked Questions
You can generally expect a decision within 8 weeks from the date on which your application is lodged at the visa office, embassy or consulate.
If a candidate simply does not meet the basic requirements of the permit.
Potential reasons could be the mismatch of the candidate profile and the requirements of the job applied–salary, poor educational background, irrelevant work experience or irrelevant skill-sets.
Determinations can take up to 4 weeks to reach the visa section and a further 8 weeks for the ruling to be processed.
Last modified on December 23rd, 2022 at 11:32 am
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