If you’re thinking about a move abroad for better career opportunities, there’s never been a better time to consider Ireland. Over half of Solas Consulting’s new starters last year were foreign nationals, and with Ireland’s record low unemployment rate and booming technical market, that number is only set to rise for 2018.

Ireland is home to branches of most multinational technology giants, including Google, Amazon, IBM, Salesforce, Workday, eBay, Paypal, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy and Airbnb – all of which are hiring. But did you know that Dublin is considered to be one of the top ten cities for successful start-ups?

With innovative ideas, ranging from Let’s Get Checked’s at-home health tests to Bamboo’s lunch queue skipping app, Ireland is the perfect breeding ground for budding entrepreneurs.

Sold yet? Let Solas Consulting help you find everything you need to make the move!

Work Permits

If you have citizenship (even dual citizenship) for any country in the European Economic Area (EEA), European Union (EU) or United Kingdom (UK), you can work in Ireland without any restrictions.

The countries whose citizens can freely work and move in the EU are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

If you don’t have citizenship of any of the listed countries, no problem – you can apply for a working visa. Working visas are generally applied for before you enter the country, through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Once you arrive, you’ll need to register with your local immigration officer – you can find the information on what documents you need and where you need to go here.

Generally, you will need an offer letter from your employer, and your application fee. Most people entering the country looking for IT jobs will be applying under a Critical Skills Employment Permit.

The relevant visas that you can apply for are:

Stamp 1

Are you from a non-EU or EEA country?
Are you a qualified IT professional?
Are you uninterested in entering full time education in the near future?
You are likely to enter the country on a stamp 1 visa.

Stamp 1 allows you to work full time anywhere in Ireland.

To apply for a Stamp 1, you need an offer letter of employment from an Irish company, for a job that pays at least €30,000 per year. The application processing fee is €1,000, which you or your company can pay. If the application is rejected or withdrawn, €900 of this is refunded.

Application for a Stamp 1 visa can be done through DBEI’s online portal. Visa applications can take 1-2 months to process.

When you enter Ireland on a Stamp 1 visa, you have to work for the company who sponsored your application for one year. A Stamp 1 visa lasts for two years – when it ends, you can apply for a Stamp 4 visa (see below.)

Stamp 1 holders can’t work on fixed term contracts under 12 months long (because of the 1 year rule) and can’t do daily rate contracts because they can’t start their own limited company.

Stamp 2 and Stamp 1G

Are you from a non-EU or EEA country?
Are you interested in completing your college degree in Ireland?
Would you consider a full time return to education?

You will likely enter the country on a Stamp 2 visa, and convert to a Stamp 1G on graduation.

Stamp 2 allows you to study full-time in Ireland, as well as hold a part time job of up to 20 hours per week during term time, and 40 hours per week during the holidays.

To apply for a stamp 2 degree, you need a place on a full-time education course with a certified English college, a university, or one of Ireland’s institutes of technology.

Application for a Stamp 2 visa can be done through DBEI’s online portal. Visa applications can take 1-2 months to process.

Once you’ve finished your education, you can apply for a Stamp 1G visa or third level graduate programme. This will let you to work full time for two years without sponsorship.

Visa holders can’t spend more than seven years in the country on a Stamp 2 visa,(or eight years on a Stamp 2 and Stamp 1G visa) so you’ll need to apply for a Stamp 1, Stamp 4 or Irish citizenship after this.

Stamp 3

Are you travelling with your partner?
Is your partner also not an EU or EEA citizen?
Will your partner not have an employment offer by the time you move?

They will likely enter the country on a Stamp 3 visa.

A Stamp 3 visa allows you to stay in Ireland for a specified amount of time (i.e. the length of your partner’s Stamp 1) and can be renewed.

With a Stamp 3 visa, while you are in Ireland, you can’t work – however, you can apply for a Stamp 1 at any time when you have found a job on the highly skilled occupations list.

Stamp 4

If you’re joining your Irish spouse, your Irish child, an EU family member or if you have completed a full Stamp 1 visa, you can apply for a Stamp 4 visa.

A Stamp 4 allows you to work full-time in Ireland, without any restrictions. As a Stamp 4 holder, you can take up permanent, temporary or self-employment, and can consider daily rate contracting.

Irish citizenship

There are plenty of avenues to Irish citizenship. Once you have been legally living in Ireland for 5 years (in the last 9 years) you can apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

Irish citizenship is available to anyone with an Irish parent or Irish grandparent, whether or not they were born in Ireland. You can find more information on this here.

Those married to Irish citizens can apply for citizenship after three years of marriage.

Irish citizenship costs €175 to apply for, and costs €950 for an adult and €200 for a child.


Long Term – Join Family Visa

Once you hold any of the above Stamps, you can apply for a family re-unification visa.

You can find more information on this here.

EU Blue Card

Holders of a Blue Card, which allows non-EEA citizens to work freely within the EU, can’t use this as a work permit in Ireland.

Schengen Visa

Holders of a short-stay Schengen visa, which allows non-EEA citizens to travel freely within the Schengen area for 90 days, can’t use this to enter Ireland.

Civil Partnerships

In the case of civil partnerships, you should check with the Immigration service here that your partnership is recognised by the state. All recognised civil partnerships are treated as marriages under Irish law, regardless of gender.

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