What Is The Application Process for the General Employment Permit for Ireland?
If you are planning to work overseas in 2021 and still deciding where to go, have you considered Ireland? Since the economic downturn experienced in Ireland between 2008 and 2013, the country has seen a dramatic return to economic prosperity. Indeed, Ireland was referred to as the ‘Celtic Phoenix’, achieving GDP growth of 26.3% in 2015. It also stands to benefit from the impact of Brexit, where many companies in the UK are relocating to nearby countries within the EU. Given that it is an English speaking country, it makes robust sense for companies needing to set up a base within the EU to do this in Ireland. One of the key considerations for any migrant worker is which immigration route to choose. In this article, we will discuss the application process and eligibility criteria for the General Employment Permit for Ireland.
Who Is The General Employment Permit For?
The General Employment Permit is the main work visa route for non-EEA citizens with the necessary skills to fill occupations experiencing labour shortages in Ireland. This permit differs from the Critical Skills Employment Permit as it does not specify which occupations are eligible under the scheme. The Critical Skills Employment Permit is only available to those who can fill roles on the critical skills occupation list. As such, there is a broader scope of potential jobs under the general route.
There is, however, a list of occupations which are not eligible. This list does contain a large number of roles, including roles which you might normally expect to see as eligible, including occupations such as Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, and veterinary nurses. As such, the criteria for which roles are not eligible under the General Employment Permit scheme are not based on the level of qualifications; rather, they are based on the level of supply and demand in-country.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria For The General Employment Permit?
In order to apply for a General Employment Permit in Ireland, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have a job offer from “a bona fide employer registered with the Revenue Commissioners and, if applicable, with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies, and is trading in Ireland.”
- The role you have been offered is not on the ineligible occupation list
- You must have the experience, skills, and qualifications needed for the role you have been offered
- Your salary must meet the minimum salary requirements, as follows (for a full list of salary requirements, refer to the guidance issued by the Irish Department of Trade, Enterprise, and Employment):
- €27,000 if you are a non-EEA student who has graduated in the last 12 months from an Irish tertiary educational institution, and you have been offered a graduate role listed on the Critical Skills Occupations List; the minimum annual remuneration must be €30,000 at renewal stage, or;
- €27,000 if you are a non-EEA student who has graduated in the last 12 months, from an overseas third level institution, and has been offered a graduate position as an ICT professional from the Critical Skills Occupations List; in such cases, the minimum annual remuneration must be €30,000 at renewal stage
When applying for your visa, the case officer will also look to establish that your employer is suitable and eligible to employ you. They will check:
- The employer is fully registered with the Revenue Commissioners and with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies
- You will be employed, salaried and paid directly by the employer
- That at least 50% of the employees in a firm are EEA nationals (50:50 rule) – this does not apply for start-ups
Is A Labour Market Test Required?
Due to the broad scope of roles for which migrants can apply for a General Employment Permit, a labour market test is required for most roles. This is another of the key differences between this and the Critical Skills Employment Permit, for which the labour test is not needed. A labour market test involves advertising the role for 28 days in Ireland to determine if an Irish national or settled worker can do the job. As the guidance states, “to fulfil the Labour Market Needs to Test the employer must advertise the position on DSP Employment Services/EURES employment network and in newspapers”.
The labour market test is not required in very limited circumstances, including where:
- the occupation is on the Critical Skills Occupations List.
- the job offer is in respect of eligible employment with a minimum annual remuneration of €64,000.
- a recommendation from Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland has been made in relation to the job offer.
- the job offer is for a Carer of a person with exceptional medical needs and the non-EEA national has been providing care to the person before the application was made.
The impact of requiring a labour market test is that a local citizen or settled worker may be found who can do the job. Even if this is not the case, the requirement to advertise the role for a month can slow down the hiring process. This can be especially problematic where the worker is needed urgently.
How Can I Apply For A General Employment Permit For Ireland?
It is recommended that you apply at least 12 weeks before your intended start date, to allow sufficient time to process your permit and visa. The application process is completed on the Employment Permits Online System. When applying you will need to pay the application fee of €1,000 for a permit from 6 months up to 24 months in duration. Once submitted, your application will be processed in date order, at which point it will be assessed and a decision made. If successful, you will be advised if you need to apply for a visa, and the process for acquiring one from your local embassy/consulate.
The process of acquiring a General Employment Permit for Ireland is straightforward, and assuming that you are eligible and provide all of the information requested when you apply, you should receive a prompt decision. We wish you the very best with your employment in Ireland.