If you’re a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland then you are free to move to live and work in Ireland.  All others seeking jobs in Ireland require an Irish work permits and these are only available for jobs in certain categories.

If you’re currently resident in the UK or on the European mainland, the bottom line is that it is relatively easy to move to live and work in Ireland, but for all others there are very strict rules that actually changed in 2007 and these have to be heeded.  In this article we’ll look at the employment landscape in Ireland and discuss the work permit rules and regulations.

As stated, if you’re from the UK or the European mainland and even if you’re from the newest EU member states of Bulgaria and Romania you are pretty much free to live in Ireland and seek employment.  For British citizens in particular, making the move across the water and living in Ireland offers not only a change of scene but a change of pace as well.  Life in Ireland is famously laid back and if you’re after a change but don’t want to move too far afield, why not consider living and working in Ireland?

In terms of finding work, all the local newspapers carry weekly jobs advertisements, you can also look in national press and of course on the Internet.  Irish job website EmployIreland is just one example of the portals available where employees can look for work under many category headings from accountancy to travel and tourism.

If you’re not a citizen of the EU and you want to find jobs in Ireland then you will need a work permit.  You need to know that there are certain categories of work for which you cannot obtain a permit and these are therefore fields in which you cannot work.  The categories currently are: –

Clerical and Administrative, General Operatives and Labourers, Operator and Production, retail sales, sales representatives, drivers excluding HGV, Nursery or Crèche Workers, Child Minders and Nannies, Hotel, Tourism and Catering staff except chefs, Bookbinders, Bricklayers, Cabinet Makers, Carpenters and Joiners, Carton Makers, Fitters, Electricians, Instrumentation Craftspersons,Tilers, Mechanics for Heavy Vehicles, Instrumentation Craftspersons, Metal Fabricators, Motor Mechanics, Painters And Decorators, Plumbers, Printers, Refrigeration Engineer, Sheet Metal Workers, Tool Makers, Vehicle Body Repairers, Wood Machinists, Plasterers and Welders.

For jobs in all other industries either the employer or the employee can apply for a work permit once a job offer has been made.  A permit is originally granted for a period of two years, (unless the contract being offered is for a shorter duration), and it can then be renewed for for a further three years at which time it can be renewed indefinitely.

The job vacancy for which a work permit application is made must have been advertised with the FAS/EURES employment network and it must also have been advertised in both local and national newspapers for at least three days.  This is to ensure that Irish nationals and nationals from the EU or Switzerland have had a chance to apply.  Evidence of this level of advertising will be required and should be submitted with the application for an Irish work permit.

Where the position requires the foreign national has certain qualifications, these together with proof of skills and experience will also be required to support the application for a work permit.  In terms of costs, a new permit for up to 6 months will cost EUR 500, it will cost EUR 1,000 for 6 months to 2 years, a renewal will cost EUR 1,500 for a period of up to 3 years, and then for a final unlimited renewal there is no fee.

If you think living and working in Ireland could be the right move for you to make, take some time looking at the labour market today, determine what vacancies are available for someone with your skills and experience and ensure that there are potential opportunities to suit you before you make the commitment to move abroad.