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How to qualify for skilled worker immigration to Ireland

Are you a skilled worker looking to move to Ireland?

To discuss whether you qualify for skilled worker immigration to Ireland, contact our expert immigration lawyers on +353 (0) 615 180 25.

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    Skilled work in Ireland

    If you are a non EU/EEA national who would like to work in Ireland, you must first secure an employment permit. Only EU and UK citizens are exempt from this requirement, all other foreign nationals must hold an employment permit to work in the State.

    You must have been offered a job from a valid sponsor before applying for an employment permit. There are a number of different employment permits depending on the type of work you wish to do and how long you wish to remain in Ireland, however there are specific routes for highly skilled worker – such as the Critical Skills Employment Permit.

    There are some circumstances which mean that you do not have to apply for an employment permit in order to work in Ireland, including:

    • If you are the family member of an EU/EEA citizen, you can simply apply for an Irish Residence Permit which allows you to work under Stamp 4EUFAM
    • If you are the family member of a UK citizen who moved to Ireland after 1st January 2021
    • If you are the family member of somebody who has been granted refugee or subsidiary protection in Ireland, you may apply for family reunification and can be granted Stamp 4 IRP which enables you to work without a permit
    • If you are the family member of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder, you can be granted Stamp 1G which grants you permission to work in Ireland
    • If you are the family of an Irish citizen, you may be granted Stamp 4 IRP meaning you do not need to obtain a separate permit in order to work

    How do I qualify to work in Ireland?

    There are several employment permits in Ireland. For skilled workers, the most common permits include the General Employment Permit and the Critical Skills Employment Permit.

    The General Employment Permit

    To qualify for this permit, you must be working in an occupation with an annual salary of €30,000 or more. Only in exceptional circumstances would those earning below €30,000 be considered for this permit.

    Your employer will typically be required to take the Labour Market Needs Test under this route. This means proving that the vacancy has been advertised with the Department of Social Protection (DSP) employment services for 4 weeks, in a national newspaper for a minimum of 3 days and in either a local newspaper or jobs website for 3 days. The idea is to demonstrate that an EU/EEA citizen could not take up the role.

    To be offered a job under this permit, you must provide evidence that you have the suitable skills, qualifications and experience required for the role.

    Critical Skills Employment Permit

    This work permit is for those with an annual renumeration of over €64,000, or for those with an annual income of €32,000 if the occupation features on the Critical Skills Occupation List.

    Your employer will not be required to carry out a Labour Market Needs Test since these permits are reserved for highly skilled workers in occupations that are considered crucial to the growth of Ireland’s economy.

    These permits are issued by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; you must have received a job offer from a company or employer that is registered with Revenue in order to qualify.

    Again, you must demonstrate that you have the relevant skills, experience and qualifications in order to be eligible for this work permit. For example, those who are in the €30,000 income range (whose occupation features on the Critical Skills Occupation List) must have a degree or higher qualification.

    For those earning €60,000 or over, a degree or equivalent experience is essential.

    How can I get sponsored to work in Ireland?

    Depending on your circumstances, you may be approached by an employer in Ireland if you have exceptional skills and are extremely suited to the occupation they are hiring for. Or, more commonly, you will make the first step by applying for the relevant occupation.

    If you receive a job offer, either you or your employer can then apply for the suitable employment permit. An application for any work permit must be made at least 12 weeks prior to the proposed start date.

    To apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit, your employer must provide details such as:

    • Employer registered number, company name and address
    • If a charity, a charity number must be provided
    • Details on the type of company and nature of business
    • The number of EEA/Swiss employees currently working for the company
    • The number of non-EEA employees currently working for company
    • Confirmation of whether any redundancies have occurred in the past 6 months for the same role
    • Personal contact details

    Details of you as an employee and your employment must also be provided. This includes:

    • Title of your prospective job and the proposed period of employment (must be at least 2 years)
    • Location of the employment
    • Details of the qualifications/experience required for the role and evidence that the non-EEA employee meets these requirements

    Details of the salary must also be included within the application, including the total annual salary, hourly and weekly rates of pay, number of hours to be worked each week, information regarding any deductions from salary along with reasons, and confirmation of health insurance.

    If you are successful and are granted the CSEP, you have essentially been sponsored by your prospective employer in Ireland. Permission will not come from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, you will receive this from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

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