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How Does the Irish Intra-Company Transfer Permit Scheme Work?

For decades, Ireland has been attracting multinational organisations due to its business-friendly taxation regime. According to ConnectIreland, Ireland is home to nine of the world’s top ten medical technology companies, such as Boston Scientific and Medtronic, eight of the top pharma companies including Pfizer, ten top internet giants including Google and Facebook, and three of the top five games companies, such as EA and Activision. Why? Not only is Ireland a core member of the European Union and hence provides ease of access to the worlds largest trading bloc, it also offers considerable incentives to businesses. These incentives include one of the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe at 12.5% and 25% tax credits for research and development costs.

As recruiters of large numbers of specialist and highly skilled staff, it is commonplace for multinationals such as those in Ireland to move staff around the world to work on specific projects. This is the reason why Ireland offers an Intra-company transfer permit scheme. In this article, we will review how the Irish Intra-company transfer permit scheme works, who is eligible, and how to apply.

What Is The Irish Intra-Company Transfer Permit Scheme?

According to Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE), the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit enables the transfer of non-EEA senior management, key personnel, or trainees of an overseas branch of a multinational corporation to an Irish branch or subsidiary. Such transfers are commonplace, for example, where employers wish to be seconded for a temporary period, or where it is necessary for a member of staff to apply their skills and experience on a programme of work in Ireland. This may occur if a new product or service is being rolled out internationally, and training needs to be provided, or for technical staff who need to set up a new manufacturing facility or IT system. As the DETE state, “The main attraction of this permit is that it facilitates the temporary injection of corporate or HQ personnel and also provides for such employees to stay on the foreign payroll. This can be desirable for the employee as it can ensure they retain certain benefits (e.g. foreign pension contributions)”.

The Irish Government also offer this permit route as a means of boosting foreign direct investment and hence creating new jobs.

Who Is Eligible To Apply For An Irish Intra-Company Transfer Permit?

DETE make it clear that while the permit scheme can be used to help a multinational achieve a specific programme of work on a temporary basis, it cannot be used to permanently fill a vacancy which otherwise would have resulted in a job opportunity within the Irish labour market.

Eligibility requirements for the transferee

Intra-company transfers are only permitted for:

  • Senior management earning a minimum annual remuneration of €40,000;
  • Key personnel earning a minimum annual remuneration of €40,000; or
  • Personnel undergoing a training programme earning a minimum annual remuneration of €30,000.

An employee is in ‘senior management’ if they play a role in the management of the company and they:

  • have supervision or control over the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees
  • have the authority to hire and terminate employees
  • can exercise discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the foreign national has the authority

Key personnel are different from senior management in that they have “specialist knowledge essential to the establishment’s service, research equipment, techniques or management”. During the application assessment process, the case officer will check whether the applicant has a high level of qualification/s or experience relating to the type of work.

Assuming that the transferee meets the salary requirements and is in one of the role types listed above, they must also have sufficient experience with the employing organisation. Senior management and key personnel must have at least six months of experience working with the overseas company. Trainees must have been with the organisation for at least one year.

Eligibility requirements for the employer

The Irish Government also define minimum requirements for the Irish branch of the employer which must be met before an Intra-company transfer permit can be issued. Specifically, the Irish branch must:

  • be a bona fide company (registered with the Company Registration Office as a company and with the Revenue Commissioners as an employer) which is fully active and trading, except if they are a start-up
  • the foreign branch of the organisation (“foreign employer”) must also be engaged in substantive business operations in the foreign country in question
  • The Irish entity must be a subsidiary of the other, or both can be subsidiaries of a holding company;

Eligibility of family members

When it comes to bringing family members with you to Ireland during your period of transfer, DETE says, “Spouses/partners/dependants of Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit holders are not eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit and must apply for a separate Employment Permit in their own right, e.g. a Critical Skills Employment Permit or a General Employment Permit in line with the normal applicable criteria and rules for the Employment Permit type”.

How Can I Apply For An Intra-Company Transfer Permit For Ireland?

It is advisable to apply at least three months before the date you need to be actively working in Ireland. The application form is completed on the Irish Government’s Employment Permits Online System. When applying you will need to pay the application fee of €1,000 for a permit from six to 24 months in duration. Your application will be processed in strict date order. 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.

Wrapping Up

The Intra-company transfer permit offers a useful way for large multinational firms with entities in Ireland to relocate staff on a temporary basis to complete a programme of work. This can also act as an incentive for employees who want to experience life in another part of the world.

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