March 2022
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Global Mobility Basics
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Team Localyze

A quick guide to the Irish General Employment Permit

Ireland is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing companies who are scaling faster than they can find, hire and onboard talent. That includes Irish-born scaleups like fintech Wayflyer and drone delivery service Manna, as well as  US companies such as Amazon and Google. As a result, job vacancies are on the up, rising 157% in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the same period the previous year. This is also being compounded by a rise in resignations, with Irish professionals threatening to leave their jobs because of dissatisfaction with their managers. 

Yet it’s not all bleak for Irish hiring managers. Companies can now embrace the extensive international pool of 26.8 million active software developers in the world, instead of limiting themselves to the 47,000 software engineers in Ireland. With 46% of global workers surveyed saying they are now more willing to relocate for work, Irish businesses that want to tap into this new market can leverage the many employment permits that Ireland offers for international employees. Based on data from the Immigration Office, international employment permit applications reached an 11 year record-high in 2021, and represented an increase of 69% versus 2020 and 47% versus 2019.

In this blog post, we’ll share an overview of the General Employment Permit, including its eligibility requirements and the application process.

Unlike the Critical Skills Employment Permit, where the State specifies eligible occupations, the General Employment Permit assumes all occupations to be eligible unless otherwise specified. Therefore, all occupations are eligible unless excluded under the  Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits. The main advantage of the General Employment Permit for prospective candidates, besides the fact that it allows a broader range of occupations than the Critical Skills Employment Permit, is that it can be obtained for a 12-month contract of employment and has lower salary requirements.

A General Employment Permit can be issued for an initial period of 2 years and can then be renewed for up to three years. After five years, the applicant may apply for long-term residency.

Criteria for eligibility

Employer and employee must meet the following criteria to apply for a General Employment Permit:

  • The job title as stated in the employment contract is not in an excluded job category under the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits
  • A labor market test must be done for occupations that are not mentioned in the Critical Skills Occupations List. Where a labor market test is required, the employer must have published a EURES ad for at least 28 days before a valid application can be submitted, and it must be in line with Regulations made under the Employment Permits Act 2006.
  • The employment contract is valid for a minimum period of 12 months
  • A salary of at least €30.000 is required. Please note that a few exceptions exist to the salary requirements, in which a lower salary of €27.000 is possible.

Besides that, employers must also comply with the following:  

  • 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 the State
  • An employment permit will not be issued unless, at the time of application, at least 50% of the employees in a firm are EEA nationals (50:50 rule).*

*A few exceptions exist to the 50:50 rule

The application process

Applications for any employment permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date. Applications can be made online on the Employment Permits Online System.

Regarding timings, applications are processed strictly in date order by Employer Type. Applicants can keep track of current processing dates. Where an applicant wishes a refusal decision to be reviewed, they may do so within 28 days and with respect to the requirements.

The processing fee for a General Employment Permit is €1,000 for an employment permit up to 24 months duration.

Permits may be granted for a maximum period of up to 24 months in the first instance. They may be extended upon application by a further 3 years, after which it is envisaged that a holder would apply for long-term residency from the Department of Justice and Equality.

Note: Spouses, dependents, or partners of General Employment Permit holders are not eligible for a Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit and must apply for a separate employment permit in their own right.

Once the work permit has been granted, the employee must check visa requirements before entering Ireland. After arrival, a few administrative steps need to be done, i.e. applying for a PPS number, registering with the ISD, signing up for income tax and health insurance.

The information outlined in this article provides a concise overview of the general employment permit. The specifics and complexity of the application procedure may vary from case to case. 

If you’re interested in learning how to streamline the process and ensure a seamless experience for applicants, get in touch with us!