Find A Job
Any individual from the European Economic Area (EEA) can apply for work in Ireland without a visa or work permit. Those wishing to emigrate from outside the EEA must secure either a visa or work permit before they are eligible to find jobs in the country.
To succeed in the Irish job market, you will need a good level of English, both spoken and written. Being fluent in a second language can also prove advantageous for jobs in multinational companies. Individuals with skills in science, healthcare, technology and finance are also particularly in demand across the country.
Unemployment is at a ten-year low in and the economy is increasingly stable, making Ireland a good choice for relocation. The service sector has a continuous stream of job opportunities, and demand for IT workers and those skilled in hospitality is also high.
You should start your quest for work in Ireland by preparing your CV. This must include your personal contact details, educational and employment history, as well as your relevant skills and details of any references.
It is important to check that any qualifications or professional registrations you obtained prior to emigrating are still valid in Ireland before you start applying for jobs.
Job-seeking in Ireland is much the same as in the UK – there are several avenues to pursue in your search for a relevant vacancy, including recruitment agencies, newspapers, dedicated job websites and even social media.
Competition for many skilled jobs in Ireland is fierce, and you will need relevant work experience and high levels of qualifications to secure work in these areas. However, there are some areas in which Ireland has skill shortages; these include engineering, healthcare and transport.
Open days and recruitment events may prove useful in your pursuit of employment. Search online for local events and take each one as an opportunity to make connections and learn more about employment in Ireland. Remember to dress professionally for these days and take along copies of your CV.
Volunteering is another way to gain experience if you are struggling to secure a job or are unsure of which sector you would like to work in. Volunteer Ireland’s website includes volunteer vacancies all over the country, alongside hints and tips on how to gain the position you desire.
The Irish government contracts outside organisations to provide employment services; the central point for these is the Local Employment Service Network (LESN), whose website will direct you to your nearest centre. The purpose of these centres is to provide job-seekers with support, including assistance with CV writing, searching for jobs and preparing for interviews, as well as information on how to set up your own business.
Ireland is a popular destination for foreign students wanting to learn English, so teaching vacancies are often advertised. The majority of these jobs will be found in and around Dublin, though some other large cities, such as Galway and Cork, may also offer English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching jobs. To apply for one of these jobs you must hold a recognised English Language Teacher (ELT) qualification. These include:
• Trinity ESOL
Application and interview processes are similar to those in the United Kingdom – generally, you will send a CV and covering letter with your application and, if successful, be invited to attend a formal face-to-face interview, usually in the workplace. Try not to be disheartened if you fail to make it to interview stage or even do not hear back about your application; competition for some positions can be extreme.
Once you have been offered a job, you will be required to apply for an Irish PPS number and will also need to set up an Irish bank account to be paid into.
Apply For A Visa/Permit
Ireland has become a popular destination for a number of foreign nationals. For example, many British citizens are currently investigating the possibility of moving there following Brexit, in order to remain a part of the European Union (EU). There is also a significant expat community from North America. Read on to learn about Ireland’s immigration laws, and for information on how to apply for a visa.
Whether or not you require a visa will depend on your country of origin. Members of some countries will require a transit visa – you can check whether this applies to you on the Irish immigration website – but note that this type of visa only allows you to travel to Ireland, and does not guarantee that you will be allowed into the country; you will still be subject to immigration control.
If you are from outside the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), you can apply for a short stay ‘C’ visa if you are intending to remain in Ireland for less than 90 days. Short stay visas are granted to third country nationals (see below for exceptions) for such purposes as:
• Tourism (including a short course of study)
• Visiting family or friends
• Attending a conference/event
• Participating in a performance/tournament
• Getting married or entering into a civil partnership
• Short-term work where approval has been granted under the Atypical Working Scheme (see below for a more extensive account of work visas)
• Medical treatment
• Sitting an exam
• Undertaking an unpaid internship
• Some types of training
• Joining a ship
• Transiting through an Irish port of entry to your country of destination
If you plan to stay longer, you will need to apply for a long stay ‘D’ visa. However, if you are intending to remain more permanently in the country, you will need to apply for a residence permit.
If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA member state, you will be able to visit Ireland without needing a visa. If one of your family members (for example, your spouse) is not an EEA national, but you are, then they will need either to apply for a visa or to apply for a document called “Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen.”
US citizens will be able to enter Ireland visa-free for tourism or business stays of up to 90 days. There is no minimum passport validity requirement for US citizens entering Ireland.
Note that Ireland operates a short stay visa waiver programme up until October 2021, which allows you to enter Ireland without a visa if you already hold a short term UK visa. In addition, if you are from India or China, you can take advantage of the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS), which permits you to travel throughout the UK and Ireland.
Under certain limited conditions you may also be able to apply for preclearance, where, as a non-EEA national, you can get permission to enter Ireland before travelling to the country.
Your supporting documents will need either to be in English or to have been subject to a certified translation. You will need to supply:
• A copy of your passport (if you are coming from the EU or Britain, you can use photo ID, such as an identity card)
• Passport-format photographs
• A visa application form
You may also need to supply biometric data, such as fingerprints, and the address of your accommodation in Ireland.
You will need to submit additional documentation – such as your educational qualifications, if you are planning to study in Ireland, or proof of your marriage status, if you are joining a spouse – depending on the type of visa you need and the reasons for your visit.
The standard non-refundable visa application processing fees are:
• A single-journey visa costs €60 and is valid for one entry to the state for up to a maximum of 90 days from the date of issue
• A multi-journey visa costs €100 and is valid for multiple entries to Ireland for up to a maximum of five years from the date of issue
• A transit visa costs €25
There may also be additional communications/processing charges in some cases. However, you should check this with Irish Immigration, as members of some states, and people in some categories (for example, spouses of Irish citizens), do not need to pay a fee.
The Irish authorities suggest that you apply at least six to eight weeks before your date of travel.
What will I need to apply for a work visa?
If you are not an EU or EEA national, you will need to apply for a work visa. You will need a job offer/contract first, and then you must seek the permission of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (An Roinn Gnó, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta). This will be either in the form of an employment permit or an approval under the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) operated by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. The AWS allows you to work in a position not covered by other employment rules. For example, this could include an industry with a skills shortage, an internship, or other roles. Fishing crews, for instance, can apply for a work visa under this scheme.
The authorities say that if you have selected employment as your reason for travelling to Ireland, you will be shown a screen where you can enter the reference number of your employment permit / approval under the AWS.
You will then need to give the name and address of the company you will be working for, as well as a name, telephone number, and email address for a contact within said company that the Visa Officer can contact during daytime working hours.
Get Health Insurance
Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.
When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.
Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.
Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.
Important questions to ask the insurance provider:
1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?
2. Does the plan offer “Moratorium” or is it “Full underwriting” and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?
3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.
4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?
5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.
6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.
7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.
8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?
9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.
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Rent Or Buy Property
The Republic of Ireland is an increasingly popular expat destination, as more and more companies choose to relocate there. Of the population of nearly 5 million people, 80,000 were reported to be immigrants in 2016. Property in Ireland is expensive and in high demand, so it is important that you understand the market and the processes before you begin your search.
Daft.ie is Ireland’s leading website for finding both rental properties and properties for sale, with as many as 70,000 property listings on the site at any one time. You should also look at Property.ie and MyHome.ie, and you may even find what you need on Gumtree.ie.
Rent in Dublin has been reported as the fifth most expensive in Europe, costing an average of €3,613 per month. Cork and Galway are much affordable, with the average prices of rent being €1,372 and €1,260 respectively. The country’s average monthly rental price is €1,391.
Affordable rentals are therefore in high demand, so it is recommended that you set up online alerts for new listings and call agents or landlords as soon as you see something suitable. Expats also advise bringing key documents with you to viewings to help speed up the rental process.
Furnished listings are more popular than unfurnished listings, which is good news if you are only looking to relocate temporarily. However, you can always negotiate with your landlord if you would prefer to provide your own furniture. Make sure you check the property’s Building Energy Rating (BER) to help you manage energy costs.
When you have found the right property, you are likely to be asked to put down a holding deposit to secure the listing. Be aware that, if you do not end up signing a rental contract, this is unlikely to be refundable. At this stage, you will need to provide documentation, including references, your ID and your Personal Public Service (PPS) number.
You will also need to pay a security deposit when signing the contract, to cover any unpaid rent or required repairs when you vacate the property. The deposit is usually one month’s rent, and it will be held by the landlord. Make sure you get written receipts for deposits.
All renters (except lodgers) are legally entitled to a rent book. The rent book should list every payment made to the landlord, including your monthly rent and the value of the deposits paid. It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide you with a rent book, and it should contain all the important information related to the tenancy. For example, it should include the landlord’s name and address, the cost of rent and a record of every time it has been paid, and the length of the tenancy and the date it was commenced.
Once you have signed a contract with your landlord, your rent cannot be increased for two years, unless there have been major alterations to the property. Under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, tenancies become a Part 4 tenancy after six months, and the tenant gains security of tenure for six years.
Ireland has also introduced Rent Protection Zones (RPZs) to help standardise rent costs in its most oversubscribed areas. If you choose to live in an RPZ, rent is capped at a 4% increase per annum. A full list of RPZs and when they were designated as such can be found here.
If your landlord wants you to vacate the property, the length of the tenancy will determine how much notice they need to give you.
• Six months or less: 35 days
• Six months to one year: 90 days
• One to three years: 120 days
• Three to seven years: 180 days
• Seven to eight years: 196 days
• Eight or more years: 224 days
There are exceptions to these rules, for instance if rent is in arrears, details of which can be found here.
Much like rental prices, house prices in Ireland have continued to rise in recent years. On average, they are up 84.2% from a trough in early 2013. There are no restrictions on expats buying property in Ireland, but bear in mind that owning a residential property will not entitle you to legal residency.
Expats are able to obtain mortgages from Irish banks, but you should be prepared to pay a higher deposit of 30% to 50% of the property value (as opposed to 10%, which is how much an Irish resident must pay). The bank will require you to have home insurance and life assurance before they will approve the loan.
Property sales are managed privately, and each estate agency has its own list of properties. Therefore, it is important to register your interest with as many agencies as possible in your chosen area. Should you want to engage your own agent to help you search, you can find one on Ireland’s Golden Pages, or in the Property Service Regulatory Authority’s Register of Licensed Property Services Providers.
When you are ready to put in an offer, you need to place a booking deposit of between €3,000 and 3% of the sale price. It is quite common to put in an offer around 10% to 15% below the property’s asking price. However, in high demand areas, such as Dublin, be prepared for a lot of competition, and for the house to sell for much more. If you are outbid, your booking deposit will be refunded.
Sellers are under no obligation to disclose property defects. It is therefore highly recommended that you arrange to have the property surveyed. Once you have the survey results, you should get your mortgage approved. Do this before you put down a deposit or sign a contract, in case your application is rejected. Make sure that you check the property’s BER, and whether the property is in a High Radon Area and has been tested for radon.
At this point, you should engage a solicitor to draw up and exchange the Deed of Conveyance with the seller’s solicitor, who will draft and send the house sale contract for approval. The deposit is due when the contracts are signed. You can expect the conveyancing process to take about six to eight weeks.
Residential properties in Ireland are subject to stamp duty of 1% of the total property value up to €1 million, and 2% on any value above €1 million. Once paid, the sale can be registered and completed.
Though competition is fierce and you will need to act quickly to secure a home, the benefits of living in the Republic of Ireland will outweigh the initial cost.
Move Your Belongings
Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.
Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.
If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.
The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).
Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.
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Register For Healthcare
QUICK LINK: Ireland health insurance
Contact the HSE to determine your eligibility for your national health coverage. If you think that you might be eligible for a Medical Card or a GP Visit Card, you can apply via the HSE website.
To apply for a Medical Card, you will need to send your application to the HSE and include a recent pay slip, or a P45 if you are no longer employed. If you are retired and receiving a state pension, you will need to include proof of the amount you receive, as well as bank statements to back this up. If you are retired and receiving a private pension, you will need to include a photocopy of a recent pension payslip. If you are self-employed, you will need to include a copy of your most recent Income Tax Return Form and your Notice of Assessment.
Regardless of your employment status, you will also need to include bank statements showing the current balance of your accounts, as well as certificates of interest for any accounts you have. You will also need to show any income you receive from investments.
As well as proof of income, the HSE will also need proof of your expenditure to decide your eligibility for a Medical Card. You will need to include:
• your rent book or tenancy agreement, or documents showing your mortgage payments
• a letter from your childcare provider (if applicable) giving their contact details and showing how much you pay them on a weekly basis
• the address of your office (if you are employed or self-employed) and a note detailing the distance you travel to work
• copies of your tickets, if you travel to work on public transport
• a photocopy of the invoice from your home, if you live in a nursing home or care facility
If you are not eligible for a Medical Card, you can apply for a GP Visit Card instead. You will need to go to the government’s Citizens’ Information website to find out whether you are in an income bracket that is covered for GP Visit Cards.
The application process for a GP Visit Card is the same as for a Medical Card, and you will need to send all of the same items along with your application. You can download an application form via the government’s website, or call 1890 252 919 to request a form to be sent to you in the post. You can also apply by visiting your local health office.
If your application is rejected, you will need to pay upfront for any medical care.
Open A Bank Account
Ireland is one of the best countries to live, work, and study in. The country boasts several towns that have significantly grown over the years. All towns in Ireland have at least one bank, which is normally situated in the most imposing building. Most banks in Ireland usually open their doors to clients from 9.30am or 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Some of these banks take one-hour breaks during lunchtime on weekdays. However, larger branches stay open during the lunch hour. Some operate all the way up to 5.30 pm.
Ireland boasts eight major banks with the most popular being the Bank of Ireland, which has 320 branches countrywide. Allied Irish Bank, also known as AIB, is also one of the most widespread banks in Ireland with over 300 branches spread out across the country. AIB, Ulster Bank and National Irish Bank are collectively known as the Associated Banks because they offer a clearing system for all other banks in Ireland.
Irish banks offer a wide range of services specifically designed for expats. Nearly all banks offer current account facilities. These services are not only offered by banks but also building societies. Services such as savings accounts are offered by some banks, post offices, credit unions, and building societies. Anyone who wants to open an account with a bank in Ireland must provide a utility bill or other proof of residence in Ireland, passport, and details of their previous bank accounts. Banks in Ireland normally impose yearly or quarterly transaction charges and fees on current accounts.
Nearly all banks in Ireland including Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, AIB, National Irish Bank, and TSB offer telephone and internet banking services. All major banks in Ireland issue their clients with debit cards. ATMs are widely available throughout major towns, cities, and villages in Ireland except in rural areas.
The use of major credit cards as a means of payment is widely accepted in Ireland. However, not all establishments accept cards. Small enterprises may only take cash. Travelers’ checks and major currencies are accepted in Ireland. Anyone can exchange pounds Sterling without paying commission. Foreign exchange services are mainly available in post offices, banks, and bureaux de change.
There are many major UK and US banks operating in Ireland, including Barclays, HSBC, and Northern Rock. The major foreign-owned banks operating in Ireland offer similar services to Irish banks. Some of the foreign-owned banks operating in Ireland are bigger than local banks.
All major banks in Ireland offer standard accounts, student accounts, and joint accounts. The banks have a number of options including online banking, Visa debit cards, mobile apps, and contactless payments. Anyone can easily open a bank account in Ireland. You can apply in person, online, or over the phone. Other account options include personal current accounts, young saver current accounts, second level current accounts, third level current accounts, graduate current accounts, basic bank accounts, and golden years current accounts.
How to Open an Account
To open a bank account in Ireland, you will need provide a valid form of photo ID and a document to prove your address. Valid forms of photo ID include your passport, national identity card, or a driving license. To prove your address, the bank will need you to produce a utility bill which is less than 6 months old, a recent bank statement, and a correspondence from a government department.
The good thing about Ireland is that you can open a bank account even if you are a non-resident. Most banks will accept a bank statement, utility bill, or government correspondence with your home country’s address. Most banks will also ask you to provide a character reference and access to your financial history in your home country. The bank has to certify the copies of your photo ID and proof of address. The documents have to be signed and stamped by a chartered accountant, a practicing solicitor, an embassy official, a notary public, or a commissioner for oaths.
The person signing your documents must confirm the documents are true copies of the originals and note down their name, position, and contact details. They must also sign, date, and stamp the document. It is important to know that most banks in Ireland will insist on meeting you in person before acknowledging your application and opening your account.
Use of Debit and Credit Cards
Most people in Ireland use a combination of cash, debit and credit cards. The use of credit cards and debit cards is very common in Ireland. People who use debit and credit cards usually get the best exchange rates. The use of ATMs is also prevalent in Ireland because many banks in the country do not charge for using them.
Small stores that are not associated with banks may charge some fees for ATM transactions. However, many businesses in Ireland accept credit cards. It is important to have your bank phone numbers handy in case you encounter any problems.
An overdraft gives you a credit facility on your current account for temporary or occasional use. Overdrafts give you access to a certain amount of money when you need it. Most banks in Ireland allow their clients to apply for any amount that does not exceed their monthly income.
Banks in Ireland are quite flexible and do not have many restrictions for expats who want to open bank accounts with them. Opening a bank account in Ireland is not likely to be complicated.
There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.
International Bank Transfers
For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.
Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them “on demand” whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.
You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.
When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic – your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.
As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up – ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.
As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.
Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals
Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution – many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.
You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine – but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.
Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent – many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.
Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.
A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:
1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.
2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.
3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.
Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money – such as the proceeds of a property – a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.
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Learn The Language
Ireland is a beautiful country in which to live and work and if you are an English-speaking expat, you will have few difficulties communicating with local people, since Ireland is an English-speaking country. This will apply whether you are based in either Northern Ireland or Eire.
The official language of Northern Ireland, which is still part of the UK, is English. The official language of southern Ireland is, however, Gaelic (An Gaeilge). This is an ancient Celtic tongue, taught in schools (it is mandatory) and spoken in the west of the country, in the area known as the Gaeltacht (the counties of Cork, Kerry and Waterford). It is an officially recognised minority language in Northern Ireland.
Irish has around 92,000 native Gaelic speakers (around 35% of people speak Irish on a daily basis) but many Irish people do not speak Gaelic to any great degree: for the majority of the Irish population, their first language will be English.
The 2011 census found that 82,600 in Ireland speak Irish outside of school. Another 119,526 people speak Polish at home and 56,430 speak French.
There are in addition a number of Gaelic dialects in areas such as Munster, and you may also come across immigrants into Ireland from elsewhere. Irish Gaelic is now the third most widely spoken language in the country, after English and Polish. However, most people will speak English as well.
You do not, therefore, need to learn Gaelic to get by in Ireland, although you might choose to do so if you are interested in languages. The Irish will greet your efforts with enthusiasm, too: the saying Is fearr Gaeilge briste, ná Béarla clíste (“Broken Irish is better than clever English”) may apply here! If you are visiting the Gaeltacht, speaking a few phrases is a polite thing to do. It is not an easy language to learn, however, and you will find pronunciation and grammar particularly challenging. For example, Gaelic is not phonetic: it is not pronounced as it is written.
You will find a number of language training courses in Gaelic in Ireland, although if you do want an immersive Gaelic experience, it is advisable to take classes in the Gaeltacht and then you can use the langage outside the classroom. Irish language schools offer homestays with Gaelic-speaking families, and you can learn Gaelic at a range of different levels. You will also find resources such as Irish language bookshops and study groups. Check out the popular Pop Up Gaeltacht: a monthly event started in Dublin and now in Galway, Belfast and Cork.
Young Irish students are used to the concept of Gaelic summer schools but there are some of these for adults, too: Oideas Gael runs language and cultural courses in Gleann Cholm Cille, Gleann Fhinne and Toraigh in Southwest Donegal.
They provide training for all levels and some classes include cultural aspects and outdoor pursuits.
Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne is a subsidiary of Comharchumann Forbartha Corca Dhuibhne, formed to promote aspects of Irish culture, language and heritage in Munster. They offer a program of language and heritage courses for adults, all taught through the Munster dialect.
If you want to learn Gaelic in North Ireland, check out the The Gaeltacht Quarter (An Cheathrú Ghaeltachta), Belfast, as there are some language training and opportunities for practice here.
If you are a qualified TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher you may wish to consider going to Ireland to teach English. Obviously, the local Irish population will not need to learn English, but there is quite a lot of TEFL provision in the country for students coming in from abroad. Ireland runs EFL summer schools, for example, so there is a demand for TEFL teachers.
It is always easier to get work in international education if you have at least a certificate in either TEFL or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
It is also preferable if you have experience in teaching schemes such as the Cambridge English exams or IELTS (International English Language Testing System): the English test for study, migration or work. Some teaching experience in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will also be helpful. This assesses analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to graduate management programs, such as the MBA. You may also find work more easily if you are experienced in teaching English for particular sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, or in summer schools.
You are most likely to find work in a private language school (many of these are based around Dublin). You can expect a monthly average salary of between €1200 – 4000, depending on the level at which you enter. This may sound a lot, but remember that the cost of living in Ireland is not particularly low. If you are coming in from the US, you will need a work permit but your school may be able to arrange this for you (Ireland is not a Schengen country so you will not be able to apply for a Schengen visa).
It will also be helpful to have at least a Bachelor’s degree as most language schools require this: basically, the rule of thumb is that the more qualifications you have, both in TEFL and in academic subjects, the easier you will find it to get work.
Choose A School
In Ireland, all children between the ages of six and sixteen are required to attend school, from primary level to the end of junior secondary level education. This is possible for everyone since the state provides free education.
There are three formal levels of school in Ireland:
Primary (first-level) – this initial level is attended by children between the ages of 6 and 12. It has six levels and lasts for six years. Many primary schools in Ireland are run by religious institutions or a board of management but funded by the state. There are also private primary schools in which parents pay for their children’s education.
Second-level – this level consists of three types of post-primary schools: secondary, vocational and community, and comprehensive schools. Secondary schools prepare students to study different fields in higher education institutions, vocational schools equip students with technical skills in specific fields while community, and comprehensive schools give students a more generalized education about society. This level is also divided into two cycles: junior and senior.
Junior cycle takes three years, after which students sit an examination and are awarded a Junior Certificate. The senior cycle usually takes two years. It may take three years if a student decides to take a transition year after completion of the junior cycle. At the end of senior cycle, a student is awarded a certificate based on the school they attended. Secondary school students get an Established Leaving Certificate, vocational school students get a Leaving Certificate Vocational Program, and community and comprehensive school students get a Leaving Certificate Applied Program.
Third-level – this level comprises universities, technological institutions, colleges, and other institutions of higher learning. Universities are self-governing and offer varied general courses leading to bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees. Institutes of Technology aim at teaching fields like business, engineering, science, arts, and linguistics with a specific purpose. Colleges of education are tasked with training teachers. Application to the various institutions is done through the Central Applications Office.
Apart from the above levels of schools, there are special schools to address specific needs.
• Junior and senior infants – these provide two years of early childhood care and education in preparation for primary schools. They are privately owned. Children can attend these starting the September following their 4th birthday. However, enrolment is optional.
• Early start program – these schools help disadvantaged children to start learning early so that they can try to be on par with the rest of the children.
• Special needs schools – people with disabilities and other special needs attend these schools. Learning in these schools is designed to fit their needs.
• Adult education – adults who need to learn can access adult education offered at primary schools during evening hours.
Types of schools
The schools in Ireland are grouped into national schools and private schools. National schools are owned by the state but run by religious institutions or boards of management. Private schools are owned and run by individuals. Parents of students attending private schools pay for all the services offered. National schools are further grouped into eight categories based on the religious institution that runs them. These are:
• Roman Catholic
• Anglican (church of Ireland)
Primary school syllabi focus on language, mathematics, social skills, religion, environment, and arts. The aim is to prepare students for further learning, teach them how to live with one another in society, and help them discover and understand themselves as well as realize their potential.
Junior cycle aims at equipping students with literacy, numeracy and other key skills that are important in their lives. Senior cycle prepares students for the world through the three programs mentioned earlier. The established leaving certificate program gives a broad and general education to prepare them to venture into various fields in higher institutions of learning.
The leaving certificate vocational program prepares students for work. The leaving certificate applied program trains students to be good and reliable people in society from a general point of view. From here, they can go on to acquire technical skills in a field of their choosing. Students enrolled in this program are sometimes at a bit of a disadvantage in the job market and therefore require some mentoring, counseling, and modeling before they can start working.
Primary school qualifications allow students to join a secondary school, a vocational school, or a community or comprehensive education school based on their performance. They usually reflect a student’s capabilities and hence indicate the second-level school they should attend.
The Junior Certificate is a determinant of which program a student will enter, which could either be the established leaving certificate program, the leaving certificate vocational program or the leaving certificate applied program. The various certificates and grades that students score are used to calculate points that determine which third-level institution a student can attend and the courses they can pursue.
Quality of education
The quality of education in Ireland is quite high. In 2016, it was ranked the sixth best in the world by World Economic Forum. Pearson group and Edudemic ranked it as ninth best. In the last ten years, the country’s education system has always featured among the top 20 in the world.
Students in Ireland take more subjects and have more lessons in a day than in the UK or US. They are only tested twice, for the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate, as opposed to testing throughout the school year. However, the academic years and length of school semesters are more or less the same. The quality of Ireland’s education is said to be better than that of both the UK and US. However, some rankings have placed the UK education system ahead of Ireland’s.
How to enroll
For primary and second-level schools, parents and students should contact the school of their choice and make the application. For third-level, applications are made through the Central Application Office.
School hours and holidays
Learning starts at 9 a.m. and ends around 3 or 4 p.m. The academic year starts in September and ends in June or July. Holidays run from July to August.
A range of sports and other extra-curricular activities are offered in different schools. Sports activities include soccer, rugby, and rowing. Other activities include art and music, although these are also integrated into the main curriculum.