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Contract for Services Permit

On this page, we will explain the purpose of an Irish Contract for Services Permit, the criteria which overseas employers and workers must meet, and how to apply. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers, and solicitors in London.

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In our modern global economy, it is commonplace for businesses to compete and win contracts to deliver services in other countries. In doing so, the delivery of that contract may be contingent on the use of overseas staff and to do so requires correct immigration clearance. In the context of the Irish economy and immigration system, a Contract for Services Permit is required to enable non-EEA workers to undertake a contract of services in Ireland for an overseas business. On this page, we will explain the purpose of an Irish Contract for Services Permit, the criteria which overseas employers and workers must meet, and how to apply.

What Is A Contract For Services Permit For Ireland?

The Contract for Services Employment Permit was previously a Contract Service Provider class of Work Permit Employment Permit. Under this scheme, a foreign entity that has successfully bid to deliver a contract for services in Ireland can transfer employees from outside of the EEA to work on the Irish contract in Ireland.

The Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE) point out that to use a Contract for Services Permit, the contract awarded must be on a one-to-one contractual basis with an Irish business entity (i.e. the contract for services is not with a subcontractor or third-party).

How Long Are Contract For Services Permits In Ireland Awarded For?

Contract for Services Permits are typically granted for up to two years initially, and this can be further extended for a maximum stay of five years.

If a contract for services is of a short duration of up to three months, it may be preferable to apply under the Irish Atypical Working Scheme.

Do Foreign Employees Coming To Ireland Need To Be Employed By An Irish Entity?

No, while employment permits are typically granted to foreign employees of an Irish employer, in the case of Contract for Services Permits, employees remain employed by a foreign-based employer. For this reason, DETE imposes strict requirements for Contract for Services Permits.

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For Foreign Employers For Contract For Services Permits?

In order to use the Contract for Services Permit scheme, the foreign Contractor must:

  • register with the Irish Revenue Commissioners as an employer
  • be registered with the Companies Registration Office (if applicable)
  • have at least 50% of their employees being EEA nationals
  • carry out a Labour Market Needs Test unless the occupations of the transferred workers are on the Critical Skills Occupations List or are paid a minimum annual remuneration of €64,000. Applications submitted with a recommendation from the Enterprise Development Agencies (this applies to client companies of Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland only) are also excluded.

In addition, the foreign employer must pay a minimum salary of €40k. This can be made up of:

  • Basic salary (must meet or exceed the National minimum wage)
  • Payment for the board and/or accommodation, or the monetary value of board and accommodation directly provided by the Contractor and
  • Health insurance payments made to a health insurer

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For Foreign Employees For Contract For Services Permits?

Employees applying for a Contract for Services Permit must also meet a set of eligibility criteria; these are as follows:

  • The employee must not be in an occupation that is on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits or those contrary to the public interest.
  • The employee must have been working for a minimum period of six months with the overseas Contractor prior to being transferred to Ireland.
  • At the end of the contract or when the permit expires, the permit holder in question must leave Ireland.

DETE’s rules also state that after holding a Contract for Services Employment Permit for 12 months, overseas employees can apply for an alternative work permit such as a Critical Skills Employment Permit or a General Employment Permit. The rules also state that dependant family members joining a Contract for Service Employment Permit holder are not eligible for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit in Ireland and will need to apply for a separate employment permit in their own right.

How To Apply For A Contract For Services Employment Permit In Ireland

Applications should be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date, and it is the foreign Contractor that must make the employment permit application for a Contract for Services Employment Permit.

The application for Contract for Services Employment Permit is made online using the Irish Employment Permits Online System. The applicant will be advised of the documents which must be uploaded to support the applicants. Once submitted, applications are processed strictly in date order. If necessary, further information will be requested before making a decision. A decision to grant or refuse the application will then be made.

Where an application is declined, the applicant has 28 days to request a formal review of the decision. The review will be considered by a separate and more senior official.

Successful applicants will then need to arrange an entry visa from their local Irish Embassy/Consulate for an entry visa. DETE also advise, “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. 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”.

What Are The Application Fees For A Contract For Services Permit In Ireland?

As of 2021, the processing fees are as follows:

  • For the initial Contract for Services Employment Permit, the fee is €500 (where the employment permit of six months or less in duration) or €1,000 for an employment permit from six months up to 24 months in duration.
  • To renew a Contract for Services Employment Permit, the processing fee is €750 for an employment permit of six months or less in duration or €1,500 for an employment permit from six months up to 36 months in duration.

In some cases, an employer may be eligible for a fee waiver.

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