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What You Need to Know About the Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit

As is the case in most countries around the world, Ireland is experiencing a strong demand for highly skilled migrants in a range of specialisms and industry sectors. At the same time, Ireland is in high demand with migrants, given its proximity to Europe and its membership of the European Union. To assist migrants with in-demand skills to make the move to Ireland, whether for the long-term or permanently, the Irish Government has put in place the Critical Skills Employment Permit. In this article, we will outline what you need to know about the Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit.

What is the Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit?

The Critical Skilled Employment Permit (CSEP), which replaces the Green Card work permit, has been designed to make it easier for migrant workers to relocate to Ireland to work. It also has specific advantages for employers in Ireland when compared to a standard work visa. The scheme is only open to applicants with the skills necessary to work in certain occupations.

The Critical Skills Employment Permit offers a number of distinct advantages to permit holders and employers, including:

  • There is no need for employers to undertake a labour market test – this reduces the timescale for recruitment and reduces the administrative impact and cost of international recruitment
  • Family members can join those with a CSEP through the family reunification scheme.
  • Family members who arrive through the unification scheme can seek employment in Ireland with any employer and then apply for a dependant/partner/spouse employment permit (which are issued at no cost)
  • CSEP holders can apply for permission to reside and work without the requirement for an employment permit once their permit expires

The CSEP is typically granted for a period of two years. Those who have secured a job offer for a role of fewer than two years are required to apply for a general employment permit. It may be possible for a CSEP holder to change employer during the two years of their permit, but only if they are made redundant or unforeseen circumstances arise which “fundamentally change the employment relationship”.

Which jobs are included on the Critical Skilled occupation list?

A full list of eligible occupations is available on the Irish Government website. The list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Production managers and directors
  • Natural and social science professionals
  • Engineering professionals
  • ICT professionals – including information technology and telecommunications directors, IT specialist managers, project and programme managers, IT business analysts, architects and systems designers, programmers and software development professionals, Web design and development professionals
  • Health professionals – including medical practitioners, radiographers, radiation therapists, vascular technologists/physiologists, gastrointestinal technologists/physiologists
  • Health and social services managers and directors
  • Nursing and midwifery professionals
  • Teaching and educational professionals

The roles to be included on the Irish skills shortage list are determined by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, whose purpose is to assess the labour market needs for Ireland in the coming years. As such, the list changes in response to actual areas of shortage and also projected areas of future economic growth.

What are the eligibility criteria for a CSEP?

In order to make a successful application for a CESP, you will need to satisfy a number of criteria, as follows:

  • You must have a valid offer of employment from a genuine employer which is based and trading in Ireland. The employer must be registered with the Irish Revenue Commissioners and, where applicable, the Companies Registration Office/Register of Friendly Societies.
  • The role must be on the Critical Skills Occupations List
  • The employee must have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience necessary for their role. For some jobs, a relevant degree qualification or higher may be required. Nurses and midwives require a third level degree or diploma accepted by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. A non-EEA national who does not have a degree qualification or higher must have the necessary level of experience.
  • There are two minimum remuneration thresholds for the CSEP; €32k or €64k. The lower threshold is only available for a limited number of ‘strategically important’ occupations.

How can I apply for an Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit?

The Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE) recommend that you apply no later than three months before you are due to start work in Ireland, this will ensure that there is sufficient time to process your application and issue your permit. The application process is completed online. DETE recommend reviewing their checklist before you start completing your application form to ensure you have all of the necessary details to hand. As part of the application process, you will need to pay a fee of €1,000. If your application is refused, DETE will refund €900 back to you. Once submitted, your application will enter a queue and be processed in date order (see the current processing dates). Once you reach the second stage (processing), your application will be assessed. If further information is requested by a DETE case office, you will need to ensure this is provided within 28 days. At this stage, your application will be granted or refused. If refused, you will have a further 28 days to request that the decision be formally reviewed.

If your application is approved, you will then be able to apply to your local Irish consulate for a visa to make your journey to Ireland.

Final words

The process of applying for and securing a Critical Skilled Employment Permit in Ireland is relatively straightforward, assuming that you have an offer for an eligible job, you have the qualifications and/or skills to perform the role, you meet the salary requirement for the role, and there is nothing in your immigration history which may lead to a refusal. As with all aspects of immigration, it pays to take the time to ensure all aspects of your application are correct. An immigration lawyer can check your application and accompanying documentation before submission, with a view to maximising your chance of receiving a positive decision and avoiding any potential delays.

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