Corporate Ireland in Seek of Critical Skills Employees from Oversees


Since the Irish economy has been kick-started back into action, Irish businesses in certain sectors have experienced difficulty in sourcing certain skills for their business from the skills pool here in Ireland. They have been forced to look further afield to attract highly skilled employees for their operations.

Sectors in need of highly skilled employees

Businesses of all sizes across a range of sectors have experienced the need to bring in foreign skills (from outside the EEA area) under the General Employment Permit and the Critical Skills Permit.

The most recent statistics from the Department of Jobs, Employment and Innovation show requests from Irish companies for employment permits in the following sectors:

  • Engineering,
  • Healthcare,
  • Pharmaceutical,
  • IT sector,
  • Biotechnology,
  • Chemical & Material sciences,
  • Telecommunications,
  • Business and Financial project management,
  • International Business and Marketing executives,
  • Global Audit
  • Data analysis
  • International Cuisine

Irish Work Permit options to bring in skilled labour

There are two main types of permits that companies can use to bring in skilled foreign workers into Ireland (from outside the EEA area):

These permits allow the applicant to work for the Irish employer for a period of up to 2 years initially. The applicant may then apply to stay longer after the 2 years.

There is a minimum salary requirement of EUR 30,000. If the salary is in excess of EUR 60,000, then the applicant can apply for critical skills.

General Employment permit

There are no specific occupation exceptions that can apply for the general employment permit (previously known as the Work permit).

The employer must carry out a labour market test to prove that there is nobody suitable from within the EEA area that is interested and can fill the role. Family can join the permit holder after 12 months.

Critical Skills Employment Permit or Irish Green Card – is geared at highly skilled applicants that are required by Irish employers.

The applicant needs to hold a relevant degree qualification or higher and has a job offer in an occupation listed on the eligible occupation list.

If the salary is above EUR 60,000 the applicant can apply for the critical skills permit regardless the occupation.

Family can join the permit holder as soon as the critical skills permit is granted.

The process of acquiring an Irish Critical Skills Permit or General Employment Permit

After the labour market testing is complete (2 weeks), the employment permit takes another 6 weeks on average to get processed.

So the process is lengthy and it is important that it is handled correctly – first time so that the employer does not waste valuable time and money which could in turn impact on the business plans.

Documents need to be completed correctly in order to avoid pitfalls and having applications being returns.

The labour market testing needs to comply with the requirements set out by the department, in order for these to be accepted with the permit application.

The permit gives the applicant permission to work in the country, but many foreign nationals will also need an entry visa to enter Ireland. This also needs to be arranged once the permit is granted.

So it is important to consider the process flow and get the timing right for the labour market testing, permit application and entry visa applications to run smoothly and avoid delays.

Trusted Partner Initiative – Faster Processing

Registered employers looking to bring in a number of applicants may want to consider applying through the Trusted Partner Initiative. The benefit of having trusted partner status is that permit applications are fast-tracked so the processing time is significantly reduced.

In addition, there are reduced paperwork and information requests required by the employer. Once granted, the trusted partner initiative status remains valid for 2 years and applies to most Irish permit applications.

Declan Clune – Registered Migration Agent with

For more information about Ireland Critical Skills Employment Permit or Ireland Highly Skilled Employment Permit, visit our website.