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Ireland – Work Permits and Working Legally

Working Legally in Ireland

It is necessary for non-European Union (EU) nationals to obtain a work permit in order to work legally in Ireland. The work permit must be obtained before the start of the employment.

Who Must Make the Application?

The application for a work permit must be made by the employer, not the expat. Employers must prove that they have made an effort to find a suitably qualified EU worker for the position and that the non-EU worker is the only suitable candidate.


There are some exceptions to the work permit requirement. Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals do not need a work permit to work in Ireland. In addition, certain categories of workers, such as businesspeople, intracompany transferees, and investors, may be exempt from the work permit requirement.

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Types of Work Permits for Expats in Ireland

There are several types of work permits available in Ireland, including:

  • Critical Skills Employment Permit: for highly skilled individuals in specific sectors, such as technology and science.
  • General Employment Permit: for most other types of employment.
  • Contract for Services Permit: for those providing services on a contract basis.
  • Internship Employment Permit: for students and recent graduates participating in an internship program.
  • Sport and Cultural Employment Permit: for athletes, coaches, and cultural workers.


To be eligible for a work permit in Ireland, the non-EU worker must have a job offer from an Irish employer and the employer must have a valid Employment Permit. The non-EU worker must also meet certain qualifications and language requirements, and must not pose a threat to public policy, security, or health.

Procedure to apply for a work permit in Irelan

The employer must submit an application for a work permit through the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) online system. The employer must provide proof of their efforts to find a suitably qualified EU worker, proof of the qualifications and experience of the non-EU worker, and a description of the duties of the job. The processing time for a work permit application is typically four to six weeks.

Documents Required

The following documents must be submitted with the work permit application:

  • A completed application form
  • A copy of the non-EU worker’s passport
  • A copy of the job offer and employment contract
  • Proof of the non-EU worker’s qualifications and experience
  • Proof of the employer’s efforts to find a suitably qualified EU worker
  • A fee payment

Costs Involved

The cost of a work permit application in Ireland is €1,000. There may also be additional fees for expedited processing or for dependents

Reliable information on working legally in Ireland

Expats can find reliable information on working legally in Ireland from the following sources:

  • Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS)
  • Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
  • Citizensinformation.ie
  • workpermit.com


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