Visas (Non-UK, Non-EU)

Immigration and Visas

EEA (European Union plus Iceland and Norway and Lichtenstein) nationals have an unconditional right to work in Ireland. Under the common travel area provisions, citizens of the United Kingdom will have an unconditional right to work in Ireland as well as to take up basic civic benefits and liberties.

United Kingdom citizens born in Northern Ireland have the right to Irish citizenship. A right of Irish citizens can be claimed by others, after a number of years’ residence, generally seven. It is permissible to have dual UK and Irish citizenship. Irish citizenship grants EU citizenship for the purpose of EU free movement rights.

The following non-EEA nationals, who have been granted permission to remain in the State on one of the following grounds, do not require an employment permit;

  • spouse or dependent of Irish/EEA national
  • parent of an Irish citizen
  • those with temporary leave to remain on humanitarian grounds in the asylum process
  • those with permission to be in the State as a resident student may  work 20 hours during term time and 40 hours during holiday periods
  • Swiss nationals under the EU Switzerland agreement.
  • employed in one EU state temporarily sent and contract to another state

Immigration Control

All non-UK non-EEA nationals, whether visa required or not, are subject to immigration controls upon arrival in the State. These controls are applied on an occasional basis on persons arriving from within the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK. They apply systematically to persons arriving from outside the Common Travel Area.

Generally speaking, persons can be granted up to 90 days permission to remain as a visitor upon arrival, provided that they can satisfy an Immigration Officer that they have funds to support themselves, that they have a valid visa if one is required and that they will not breach Irish immigration or other laws.

In view of the responsibility of the Department for Justice and Law Reform for immigration matters generally, the overall policy parameters in relation to visa matters are, set by the Department.

Non-EEA nationals seeking permission to enter in order to take up employment will generally require an Employment Permit. Employment Permit applications are processed by the Department of Business Enterprise, and Innovation and non-possession of a permit if intending to take up employment are grounds for refusal of entry.

Employment Permits

The Employment Permits Acts rovide for the grant of employment permits to non-nationals. They prohibit the employment of non-nationals without permits.  A person may not employ a foreign national other than with and in accordance with the terms of an employment permit. A foreign national is defined as a non-national under immigration legislation. 

A foreign national must not enter the service of an employer in the State or be in employment in the State other than in accordance with an employment permit.  This includes being employed by a person outside the State, to perform duties within the State, which are the subject of an agreement between the employer and another person (agency arrangement).

Where an entity enters an agreement with another to provide services and it is customary in the business or trade, or where must be in the contemplation of the parties that the services will be rendered by a third party (who may or may not be in a contractual relationship with that other party), then the  person so contracting must take reasonable steps to ensure that if the persons so employed by the third-party are foreign nationals, that they have work permits.

Test for Permits

A key objective of Irish labour market policy is to ensure that labour and skills needs are met from within the Irish, UK and European Economic Area (EEA — EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) labour markets. Employment permits can be issued however for the employment of non-EEA nationals where there are identified skills shortages and employers can demonstrate demand for labour cannot be met within Ireland or the EEA.

These strategic skills/labour shortages are in designated occupations in key economic sectors such as healthcare, information technology and financial services. The identification of occupations and areas of skills shortages drew principally on data collated by the Expert Group on Future Skills (EGFSN).

Under the Employment Permits Acts, an employment permit must be obtained in advance from the Department in respect of a non-EEA (and non-Swiss) national who is to be employed in the State.