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Ireland General Employment Permit 

In this article, we will explain how to apply for an Irish General Employment Permit from the perspective of the employer and employee. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers, and solicitors in London.

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The General Employment Permit a type of Irish Work Permit is the main immigration route for migrant workers outside of the EEA (the EU, Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein), Switzerland, and the UK who wish to work in Ireland as long as they have gotten immigration permission to do so. The scheme works on the principle that all occupations are eligible, but employers have to carry out a Labour Market needs Test before offering a vacancy to a third-country national.

For this reason, the Ireland Employment Permits are extremely flexible.

As the guidance published by the Irish Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE) states, “The main attraction of the General Employment Permit for prospective candidates is that it permits a broader range of occupations than the other classes of Irish employment permit and may be obtained in respect of a 12-month contract of employment”.

It is also possible for either the employee or employer to apply for the employment permit, again adding to the flexibility of this employer-based immigration route.

In this article, we will explain how to apply for an Irish visa (General Employment Permit) from the perspective of the employer and employee.

Am I Eligible For A General Employment Permit For Ireland?

To secure a General Employment Permit, there are a number of eligibility criteria that must be met, as follows:

  • The type of role/occupation must not be on DETE’s Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits. This list is reasonably extensive, hence it is important to check your occupation is not listed; for example, it includes hospitality managers, care home managers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, fitness instructors, finance officers, legal secretaries, school secretaries, farmers, vehicle technicians, and many more. It is also advisable not to change the exact title of your job to fit the criteria, as this is likely to result in refusal.
  • The role you have been offered must have a salary of at least €30,000, however, there are several exceptions; for example, if you are a non-EEA student who has recently graduated and has been offered an employment contract that is on DETE’s Critical Skills employment permits Shortage List, i.e. jobs classified as labour shortage the salary requirement is lowered to €27,000. The amount you are paid can include both your basic salary any health insurance payments you receive.
  • You must have the skills, qualifications, and experience to undertake the role you have been offered.

It is important to note that even though the main applicant may be eligible for a General Employment permit, this does not apply to family members who will be joining them in Ireland; the guidance states, “Spouses, dependants or partners of General 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”.

What Criteria Must Irish Employers Meet To Recruit A Third-Country National On A General Employment Permit?

If you are an employer planning to recruit someone on a General Employment Permit, you will need to meet the following criteria set by DETE:

· The business that will be recruiting the third-country national must be a) trading in Ireland and b) fully registered with the relevant authorities, i.e. the Revenue Commissioners and with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies.

· The relationship between the business and the third-country national must be one of an employer/employee relationship – i.e. employment cannot be through an agency, and the salary must be paid directly to the General Employment visa.

· The business meets the 50:50 rule – this means that at least 50% of the employees in the business must be from within the European Economic area. This requirement can be waived for start-up businesses. The DETE guidance further explains, “the [start-up] employer must be registered with Revenue as an employer within last two years, and the employer must have a letter of support from either Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland (this applies to client companies of Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland only). Renewals of employment permits will require the employer to have met 50:50 rule”. It is also possible to avoid the 50:50 rule if, at the time of applying, the business has no employees;

· The business has completed a Labour Market Needs Test – this is not needed if the job is on the Critical Skills Occupations List. To complete the labour market needs test, the employer is required to advertise the role on the DSP Employment Services/EURES employment network and in newspapers. If no suitable person is available with the EEA, then the business can continue to recruit from a third country.

How Can I Apply For A General Employment Permit?

The process can take several weeks to complete, hence it is advisable to apply as soon as possible. It is important to note that you must apply to receive immigration permission to work in Ireland before making your visa application.

DETE advises that applications can be made no less than 12 weeks before the proposed employment date. The steps are as follows:

1. Complete the application form on DETE’s ‘Employment Permits Online’ website i.e. you can apply online.

As part of this process, you will need to enter the details of the employee, the employer, the role and salary being offered, and upload any supporting documents needed to process the application for employment permits.

Submitted applications are placed into a queue and processed in strict date order. See the DETE website for the processing dates. You will also need to pay the application visa fee – this is €1,000 for permits of more than six months in duration, or €750 if less than six months.

2. The application will be processed by a DETE immigration officer when it reaches the front of the queue. If any further details are requested, these must be submitted to DETE within 28 days. If the decision-maker has sufficient information, they will then approve or refuse the application.

3. If the application is refused, you will then have 28 days to request that the case be reviewed by submitting a ‘Submission of a Decision for Review Form’

Final Words

The General Employment Permit for Ireland is highly flexible given the lack of limitations on occupations eligible under the scheme.

The key challenge for most employers will be completing the Labour Market Test to the satisfaction of DETE before being able to recruit from a third country.

Beyond this, the process of applying is relatively straightforward as long as you supply the information and documents required and both the employee and employer meet the eligibility criteria.

If you need any assistance with your General Employment Permit, consider engaging the services of an immigration lawyer who can guide you through the process and handle the application on your behalf.

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