As a U.S. Citizen, you may visit Ireland up to 90 days at a time and up to 180 days each year as a tourist. However, you may not work and earn income from any Irish employment during that time. Also, a United States Citizen does not need a Visa. There are nine different types of employment permits:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit –
A list of highly skilled workers needed in Ireland. A list of those skills, including a lot of IT related positions are here. These permits cost €1000 and is normally paid by the employer.
- Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit – This is for people being transferred from a company they already work for that has an established presence in Ireland.
- Exchange Agreement Employment Permit – Exchange Agreement Employment Permits are designed to facilitate the employment in the State of foreign nationals pursuant to prescribed agreements or other international agreements to which the State is a party.
- Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit – Depending on the type of employment permit you get, your spouse and dependants may be granted a work permit.
- Contract for Services Employment Permit – The Contract for Services Employment Permit is designed for situations where a foreign undertaking (Contractor) has won a contract to provide services to an Irish entity (Relevant Person) on a contract for services basis and to facilitate the transfer of non-EEA employees to work on the Irish contract in Ireland.
- Sport & Cultural Employment PermitGeneral Employment Permit – Sport and Cultural Employment Permits are designed to facilitate the employment in the State of foreign nationals with the relevant qualifications, skills, experience or knowledge for the development, operation and capacity of sporting and cultural activities.
- Reactivation Employment Permit – Reactivation Employment Permits are designed for situations where a foreign national who entered the State on a valid Employment Permit but who fell out of the system through no fault of their own or who has been badly treated or exploited in the workplace, to work legally again.
- Internship Employment Permit – For company internships that are also in the critical skills permit requirements.
The first thing you need to know about getting to Ireland and being able to work here is that it is not happening without a permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. There is no such thing in this country as working illegally. It is absolutely not happening. If you have any impression that you can come here and work even side jobs without a permit, forget it. Get that out of your mind. No one here will hire you for anything without a permit.
That being said, we started applying to IT jobs that needed people with our experience. This is a task that must be taken with extreme dedication and knowing that you will be told “no” many, many times. We applied for jobs in Ireland for months, making no fewer that 100 applications a day between us. Many will not even talk to you until you already have a work permit in Ireland for fear of wasting precious time and having your permit refused and of course you cannot get a permit without a job offer already in hand. But time and persistence paid off. We got a few interviews and once we found those willing to talk to us, we were in business. However, that was only the start of obtaining a job here. There is no such thing as a 1 interview job here and that is because the employment laws are very much in favor of the employed and it is very difficult to fire someone or lay them off here. No one get’s in a hurry in this country. That is the first lesson you will learn. Just leave your fast paced expectations at the door when you decide to come to Ireland. Your will go through multiple interviews, tests and follow ups with various people in the company you are applying at and it will most likely take months. You may even have to fly out and have one last face to face before they make a decision. The good part about this is that once hired, you have a very secure position in a company that not only appreciates your skill set but has insured that you will fit into their cultural environment as well. Luckily for us, our IT skills were very much in demand in Ireland.
Getting The Permit
After you have your employment contract, the process of getting your work permit begins. Just because you passed the employers’ scrutiny does not mean your permit is assured. They can and will refuse your permit if you do not have a college degree and relevant experience. You will have to provide a fingerprint background check, financial history for the last six months, copies of passports and any other information they may request. If you are applying for a critical skills work permit, the process can be as fast as 2 weeks, which it was in our case. Other permits may take 90 days or more. Once your permit is received, you may make your flight arrangements to Ireland. I would recommend negotiating this flight cost with your employer as last minute flights can be quite expensive. You should also try to include moving expenses as they can be quite extreme. Most employers will offer this anyway, but if they do not, you should definitely ask.