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Applying for a Critical Skills Employment Permit in Ireland 

If you are seeking a new country to relocate to and you have in-demand skills, the Irish Critical Skills Employment permit may just be for you. The Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE) has implemented the visa to encourage and incentivise migrants from outside of the EU with certain skills in areas such as science, engineering, IT, medicine, education, architecture, design, and sales/marketing. In this article, we will explain how to apply for the Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit, the eligibility criteria, and the fees which apply.

Why should I apply for the Irish Critical Skills Employment permit?

The Irish Critical Skills Employment permit offers a number of advantages over the standard work visa for Ireland. Notably, the employer does not need to carry out a labour market test to see if an Irish or EU worker is available to fill the vacancy. Visa holders can also bring their dependant family members (i.e. partner/spouse and children) with them to Ireland immediately through the family reunification scheme. Another key benefit is that once the Critical Skills Employment permit ends, the holder can apply to live and work in Ireland without applying for a further work permit.

Am I Eligible To Apply For The Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit?

To apply for the Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit, you will need to check whether you are in one of the occupations on the Critical Skills Occupations list. The list provides the associated standard occupation code for which you must have the skills, experience, and qualifications. In addition to meeting the occupational skill level, you will also need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must meet the minimum income threshold of €32,000 (for occupations on the Critical Skills Occupation list) or €64,000 (applies to all occupations but not those on the list of ineligible occupations).
  • For occupations on the Critical Skills List, a relevant degree qualification or higher is required.
  • In the case of a nurse or midwife, a third level degree or diploma accepted by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland as a sufficient qualification for registration to practice as a nurse or midwife in the State.
  • Applicants without degree qualification or higher must have the necessary level of experience.
  • The prospective employee concerned must have secured a two-year job offer from their prospective employer – if your job offer is for less than two years, you will be able to apply for a General Employment Permit.

How do I obtain an Irish Critical Skills Employment permit?

One of the features of the Critical Skills Employment permit is that either the employer or employee can apply. DETE states that the permit application must be received no less than 12 weeks before the intended start date of the migrant worker.

Preparing to apply

DETE provides an extremely helpful checklist for prospective applicants to ensure they have all of the necessary information before completing the application form. The checklist explains that applicant’s need to collate the following details (for a full list, see the checklist):

  • The employer’s details, including their registration number, registered name, type of company, the nature of their business, and the details of a key contact
  • The employee’s details, including personal information, passport details, and details of qualifications held
  • Job details including role title, period of employment, qualifications needed for the role, salary, number of hours to be worked

Completing the online application form

Having collated all of the documents and information you need, you can start to draft the application form. The application for a Critical Skills Employment permit is completed online on the ‘Employment Permits Online System’. As part of this process, you will be asked to pay the application fee of €1,000 (note that 90% of this will be refunded if your application is refused). You will also be asked to upload copies of the key documents needed to support your case as part of the application submission process.

After you have submitted the application form

Once the application is submitted to DETE with the required documents, it will be added to a queue to be processed in date order. The queue will be added to depends if your employer is a ‘Trusted’ or ‘Standard’ partner. The latest processing dates can be found online – these are regularly updated.

Application processed by DETE and a decision made

Once your form reaches the front of the queue on the relevant processing date, it will then be reviewed and assessed by a case officer. In relation to the processing stage, DETE explains, “This stage is where the application is considered by a decision-maker, an official with decision-making authority. The processor may request additional information if required, which should be returned within 28 days. The processor will then either grant an application or refuse it for specific reasons”.

If the applicant is the employer, the final decision will be sent to the employee, and a copy sent to the employer so that both are informed of the outcome.

Where an application is refused by DETE, an opportunity will be offered to have the application reviewed. For this to happen, the applicant needs to complete and submit a ‘Decision for Review Form’ within 28 days.

Once granted a work permit, you will still need to register for a residency permit when you are in Ireland. DETE emphasises the importance of doing this as soon as possible after you arrive; “An employment permit is not a Residence Permission. In order to be lawfully resident in the State, it is a requirement that all non-EEA nationals in possession of an employment permit must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. It is in the best interest of the persons concerned to register as soon as possible following arrival. Delay in registering with Garda National Immigration Bureau could affect applications in the granting of long-term residency and/or citizenship. Immigration permission to remain should, where applicable, be renewed at least one month before the expiry date in order to avoid unlawful presence in the State”.

Final words

The key to making a successful application for a Critical Skills Permit is preparation and attention to detail. As long as you have a valid job offer, you meet the eligibility criteria, and you have the skills, experience, and/or qualifications necessary to perform the role, you will stand a strong chance of being granted a Critical Skills Employment Permit.

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