Work Permit Regulations in Ireland

Work permits are issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Work permits are not required for citizens of a Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA).

The EEA comprises of Member States the European Union: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom together with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta.

Citizens of Switzerland while not in the EEA also do not require a Work Permit. The Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 is expected to be passed into law during 2014.

The Bill’s proposals to reform the current employment permits system include 9 different types of employment permit and changes to the criteria for issuing employment permits.


  1. A Critical Skills Employment Permit to replace the ‘Green card’ which currently exists. This type of permit has been designed to address critical shortages of skills, which will be identified in Regulations. In order to attract individuals who possess such skills, this permit type allows immediate family reunification and a fast track to residency. In addition, a number of the criteria normally applying to issue of an employment permit will be waived for this category;
  2. A Spouses, Civil Partners and Dependents Employment Permit, to enable the family members of holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits and Researchers, to work in the State;
  3. A General Employment Permit, which will issue in cases where a contract for a designated highly skilled occupation has been offered for a duration of less than two years, or for other occupations, apart from those included on a list of ineligible jobs, where a number of other criteria have been met
  4. An Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit, to allow for the temporary transfer of employees between affiliated foreign and Irish companies;
  5. A Reactivation Employment Permit, to allow for the return of individuals to employment who had fallen out of the employment permits system through no fault of their own;
  6. A Contract for Services Employment Permit, to allow the employee of a foreign company that has entered a contract with an Irish company to work in the State;
  7. An Exchange Agreement Employment Permit, to allow individuals to whom a designated exchange agreement applies to work in the State;
  8. A Sports and Cultural Employment Permit, to allow individuals with sporting or cultural expertise to work in the State;
  9. An Internship Employment Permit, to allow students of foreign institutions to work in the State, where that is a key component of the course which they are following.

When a person has been legally living and working in Ireland for 5 years on a work permit they can apply for long-term residence to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).