Ireland faces a recruitment crisis despite being home to some of the world’s fastest-growing companies. Irish-born scale-ups like fintech Wayflyer, and even US companies like Amazon and Google, fight to hire the best Irish talent amid the rising number of resignations of Irish professionals. In the second quarter of 2021, job vacancies rose 157% compared to the same period the previous year – a clear indicator that Ireland-based companies can no longer rely on the local market to fill key positions.
But it isn’t all bleak for hiring managers. Let’s say a company needs to hire a software developer. Rather than relying on the limited number of 47,000 developers in Ireland, companies can embrace the extensive international pool of over 26.8 million developers globally. And it’s not just in tech – 46% of global workers say they are now more willing to relocate for work. There’s never been a better time for Irish businesses to tap into the global market and leverage the many employment permits that Ireland offers international employees.
In this blog post, we’ll share an overview of the General Employment Permit, including its eligibility requirements and the application process.
What is the Irish General Employment permit?
Unlike the Critical Skills Employment Permit, where the State specifies eligible occupations, the General Employment Permit assumes all occupations to be eligible unless excluded under the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits. It allows a broader range of occupations than the Critical Skills Employment permit, can be obtained for a 12-month contract, and has lower salary requirements.
A General Employment Permit can be issued for an initial period of 2 years and then be renewed for up to three years. After five years, the applicant may apply for long-term residency.
Who is eligible for the General Employment permit and what are the criteria?
Unless the job title appears in the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits, any non-EEA national can apply for a General Employment permit in Ireland. However, both Employer and employee must meet the following criteria:
- Employers must conduct a Labour Market Needs Test for occupations not mentioned in the Critical Skills Occupations List. Where a labour market test is required, the Employer must have published a EURES ad for at least 28 days to ensure that no Irish national can fill the position.
- The employment contract must be valid for a minimum period of 12 months.
- In most cases, Employers must offer a salary of at least €30.000 unless the prospective employee meets any one of a range of exceptions (i.e., the applicant is a recent graduate), in which a lower salary of €27.000 is possible.
- Applications will only be accepted from employers registered with the Revenue Commissioners and with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies, if applicable, and 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 (otherwise known as the 50:50 rule to which a few exceptions exist).
- The prospective place of employment must offer a minimum salary of €30.000.
- The job title is not in an excluded category in the Ineligible List of Occupations.
- The employee possesses the relevant qualifications, skills, or experience for employment.
How to apply for the General Employment permit
Applications for any employment permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date. They can be made online on the Employment Permits Online System, where both the Employer and employee will need to provide a range of details, including:
- Employer Registered Number (ERN) and Company Name Registered Number
- Type of company (Sole Trader, Limited, etc.)
- Nature of Business
- Number of EEA and/or Swiss Nationals and non-EEA Nationals currently in employment
- Details of any redundancies that have taken place in the last 6 months for the same role
- Details for a contact person at the company
- Personal details (name, date of birth, etc.)
- Passport details
- If already a resident in Ireland, confirm why and provide GNIB/Irish Resident’s Permit Pin
- Confirm details of qualifications relevant to the role
- Details of previous visa permissions or employment in Ireland
The application should detail any information related to employment, including the title and duties of the role, the location, the start date, and an explanation of how the applicant meets the requirements of the position. You can find more application help with the General Employment Permit checklist.
There are up to three stages in the application process:
1. Application received and awaiting processing: Applications are placed in a queue depending on Employer type (Trusted Partner or Standard).
2. Processing stage: Application is considered by a decision-making authority, who may request additional information from the applicant before making their decision.
3. Review: If the application is refused, the applicant can ask for another review which a more senior official would conduct. If ultimately rejected, the applicant can reapply.
Once the employee receives the work permit, they must check the visa requirements before entering Ireland. After arrival, a few administrative steps need to be done, for example:
- apply for a PPS number
- registering with the ISD
- signing up for income tax and health insurance
General Employment visa supporting documentation
In addition to the range of details both the Employer and employee must provide, the following documentation should also be included:
- Copy of the employee’s passport and an extra passport-type photo.
- If the employee already resides in Ireland, a copy of the employee’s current immigration stamp, visa, and GNIB/Irish Resident’s Permit Pin should be provided.
- A statement from the Revenue Commissioners showing the Employer's monthly statutory return. Must be dated within three months before the application.
- Copy of the contract signed by Employer and employee.
- Registration/Pin or License Number if employment is required to be registered with regulatory bodies.
What are the General Employment permit costs?
The processing fee for a General Employment Permit is €1,000 for an employment permit for up to 24 months.
What are the General Employment permit processing times?
Regarding timings, applications are processed strictly in date order by Employer Type, and applicants can keep track of current processing dates online. Usually, an application will be accepted or refused within 28 days. If an application is denied, the applicant can ask for a review but must do so within 28 days and concerning the requirements. Initially, the permit may be granted for a maximum period of up to 24 months but can be renewed.
General Employment permit FAQs
Can I renew my permit?
A General Employment permit holder can apply for a renewal online and within 16 weeks before the expiry of the current permit. They may be extended upon application by a further 3 years, after which the permit holder can apply for long-term residency.
Can my spouse/partner/child be included on my permit?
Spouses, dependents, or partners of General Employment Permit holders are not eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit and must apply for a separate employment permit in their own right.
What happens if I lose my job?
Sometimes circumstances change outside your control. If you lose your job, you must notify the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment as soon as possible and you will have 6 months to find another job.
What do I do if I change employer during the term of my permit?
If you want to change jobs during the term of your permit, you must submit an entirely separate application for a new General Employment permit.
In many ways, hiring internationally has never been easier. With a willing global talent pool and many companies looking beyond their borders to fill key positions, countries have worked to simplify many of their visa processes – with Ireland being one of them. However, that doesn’t mean the process is completely void of complexity and remains outside the expertise of in-house HR teams – especially as each individual application may vary. And while the above guide provides a concise overview of the Irish General Employment permit, companies can save resources by enlisting the help of global mobility experts.
If you’re interested in learning how to streamline the process and ensure a seamless experience for applicants, get in touch with us!