USA and the UK
- Introduction to General Employment Permit
- Salary Requirements
- Labour Market Needs Test
- The “50:50:” Rule
- How to Apply for General Work Permit
- Required Documents for General Work Permit
- Fees for General Employment Permit
- Entry to Ireland
- Renewing General Employment Permit
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Introduction to General Employment Permit
Foreign nationals wishing to work in Ireland can do so via the General Employment Permit. This permit can be used to work in a role that is not on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits, and subject to other qualifying criteria.
You (either employee or employer) apply for the permit before you come to Ireland. You may also have to apply for a visa to enter Ireland, depending on whether you are from a visa-required country or not. You will also have to register for an Irish Residence Permit after arriving in Ireland.
Stamp 1, 1G, 2, 2A, or 3 holders can apply for an employment permit without having to leave Ireland. Meanwhile, Stamp 4 holders do not need to apply for a separate employment permit to work.
Generally speaking, the role you wish to undertake with a General Employment Permit must:
- Pay at least €30,000 per year (with some exceptions)
- Not be on the list of ineligible occupations
- Have a Labour Market Needs Test carried out for it
- Have over 50% of the workforce in the company or organization be EU citizens (also known as the 50/50 rule)
The job you wish to undertake in Ireland must have a minimum salary of €30,000.
You may also be eligible if your minimum annual salary is €27,000 and you are:
- A non-EEA student who graduated in the last 12 months from an Irish university, and you have a job offer for a role from the Critical Skills Occupations list
- A non-EEA student who has graduated in the last 12 months from a foreign university with a job offer for a an ICT professional from the Critical Skills Occupations list
- A job offer as a specialist language support and technical or sales support with fluency in a non-EEA language for certain enterprise companies
- A job offer as a job as a healthcare assistant (with a Level 5 QQI qualification or equivalent)
- A job offer as a home carer (with a Level 5 QQI qualification)
It is essential that you have a valid job offer in order to be eligible for a General Employment Permit.
Labour Market Needs Test
The Labour Market Needs test is another crucial element of the General Employment Permit. The test will demonstrate that employers have already tried to fill a job vacancy with an Irish or EU citizen by advertising it in Ireland and the EU for a certain period of time.
The job must be advertised by the employer in the following outlets:
- The Department of Social Protection (DSP) and European Employment Services (EURES) for at least 4 weeks
- A national newspaper for at least 3 days
- A local newspaper or jobs website for 3 days
The advertisement must include key job info such as the annual salary, the number of hours work required, the description of the job, and the location.
Applications for a General Employment Permit must be submitted within 90 days of the job being advertised with the The Department of Social Protection and European Employment Services.
Exceptions to the Labour Market Needs Test include the following:
- The job is on the Critical Skills Occupations list
- The job has been recommended by Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland
- You are a carer for a person with exceptional medical needs and they are dependent on you
- The annual salary of the job is €64,000 per year or higher
- You’ve been made redundant whilst on a previous employment permit
The “50:50:” Rule
The 50:50 rule dictates that eligible jobs for General Employment Permits must be with businesses that have at least 50% of a workforce from Ireland or the EU.
The exceptions are as follows:
- If a company has only registered in the past two years and has a letter of support from Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland
- For any employment permits that were granted prior to 1 October 2014
- If the employment permit applicant will be the sole employee of the company
How to Apply for General Work Permit
Your application for the permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date.
Applications are made online using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). Make sure you have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of the required documentation to upload.
There are up to three stages your application will go through: received, processing, and review.
Once an application is submitted, along with the appropriate fees, the application is recorded and placed in the relevant processing queue depending on the Employer type (Trusted Partner or Standard). Applications are processed in date order by Employer type. You can keep track of processing times and make a specific inquiry online regarding your application.
The next stage is the processing stage, where your application is considered by a decision-maker. The processor may request additional information, which should be returned to them within 28 days. The processor will then either grant an application or refuse it for specific reasons.
If your application is refused and you wish to have it reviewed, you must do so within 28 days. The review will be considered by a separate and more senior official.
Required Documents for General Work Permit
Here is a list of important information and documentation that will be needed to support your application for the General Employment Permit.
- Employer Details
- This includes: Employer Registered Number (ERN) and Company Name Registered Number, Registered Name of Company Business/Trading Name, type of business (Sole Trader, Limited, etc.), nature of business (manufacturing, software, etc.), number of EEA and/or Swiss Nationals (including Irish) currently in employment, number of non-EEA Nationals currently in employment, confirmation if any redundancies have taken place in the last 6 months for the same role, and contact information for the employer (name, position in company, telephone number and email address)
- Employee Details
- This includes: name, date of birth, gender, nationality, current address, telephone number, email address, and PPS number (if you already have one)
- Passport number and expiry date – Passports must be valid for at least 6 months for a new employment permit and 3 months for renewal
- If you are a resident in the State, you must confirm on what basis and provide your GNIB/Irish Resident’s Permit Pin, located on the back of your card
- Confirm the relevant qualifications for the role
- If you have had any previous visa permissions or employment in the State, provide those details to your application
- Details of Employment
- This includes: the title of the job, related duties and responsibilities to the role, location of employment, proposed employment start date, details of qualifications/skills/knowledge required for the role, and details of qualifications/skills/knowledge or experience of the non-EEA national
- Pay Details
- This includes: the total annual salary amount, hourly/weekly rates of pay, number of hours of work each week, details of any deductions from salary (confirm if deductions are taken for health insurance)
- Paying for Permit
- This includes: the name of the person making the payment, telephone number, email address, and credit card details
- Agent Details (if applicable)
- Provide the Department of Social Protection Employment Services/EURES Employment Network Reference Number of the advertisement for the job, a copy of the advertisement for both the national newspaper and local paper, and copies of any other advertisements for the role
- Signature pages signed by employer, employee, and agent (if applicable)
- Copy of the employee’s passport, along with a passport-type photo of the employee
- A clear copy of the employee’s current immigration stamp (if resident in State) and visa (if applicable)
- Copy of contract signed by employer and employee
- If the application is supported by IDA/Enterprise Ireland for the 50:50 rule or the Labor Market Needs Test, documentation is needed to prove this
Fees for General Employment Permit
The fees for the permit must be paid by the applicant, whether that be the employer, employee, a connected person/contractor, or an authorized agent.
The fees for the General Employment Permit are as follows:
- Duration of up to 6 months: €500
- Duration of up to 2 years: €1,000
Fees for renewals of General Employment Permits:
- Duration of up to 6 months: €750
- Duration of up to 3 years: €1,500
If your application is refused or withdrawn, 90% of the fees will be refunded.
The fee for registering with immigration and getting your Irish Residence Permit (IRP) is €300.
Entry to Ireland
If your application is successful and you live outside of Ireland with a visa-required passport, you will need to apply for a visa first in order to gain entry into Ireland. You must also ensure that you have your employment permit to show to the immigration officer at the border.
After entering Ireland, you must also remember to register with your local immigration office. You will then receive your Irish Residence Permit.
Renewing General Employment Permit
General Employment Permits are valid for two years at a time. Upon renewing your permit, it will be valid for another three years.
You can renew your permit via the Employment Permit Online System (EPOS). Applications for extensions should be made within 16 weeks of your permit’s expiry date.
After you’ve spent five years in Ireland on your General Employment Permit, you will be eligible to apply for Stamp 4, which will allow you to work in Ireland without an employment permit. You may also be eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalization after this time.
The General Employment Permit is one of the many work permits available to non-EEA nationals who wish to work in Ireland. There are other Ireland employment permits for foreign nationals including the Critical Skills Employment Permit, Cultural Employment Permit, Services Employment Permit, Exchange Agreement Employment Permit, and the Internship Employment Permit.
If you’re an employee wanting to work in Ireland and need help finding the right permit or an employer ready to hire a non-EEA national, IAS can help.
We are expert immigration lawyers, ready to assist with any queries, no matter your circumstances or the complexity of your work permit application.
For more information about our services and how we can help you with your work permit in Ireland, reach out to our team members at +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.
Last modified on September 18th, 2023 at 7:53 am
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You must normally stay with your current employer for the first 12 months of your employment permit (if this is the first employment permit you’ve held in Ireland). After this time has passed, you may then change employers if you make a new application for a General Employment Permit.
If you lose your job while on a General Employment Permit, you must notify the DETE within 28 days of this occurring. You will then be given a maximum of 6 months to find alternative employment.
When you find alternative employment, you should apply for a new General Employment Permit.
You must also ensure that the local immigration registration office is kept up to date.
You may have to leave Ireland if you’ve failed to find alternative employment within the 6 month period.
You can only bring your family to Ireland once you’ve been in the country for a year with your employment permit. You must prove that you can support them financially by demonstrating that you earn more than the limits for the Working Family Payment.
If your family members are from a country where they need a visa to enter Ireland, each family member will need to apply for separate visas.
If your family members are from a country where they don’t need a visa to enter Ireland, each member must show proof that they related to a General Employment Permit holder when they arrive at the Irish border.
Spouses, partners and children over the age of 16 must all register at a local immigration office after arrival to obtain an Irish Residence Permit. They must also apply for their own employment permits if they wish to work in Ireland.