Brexit: What tech workers moving from the UK to Ireland need to know

Posted: 26 Mar 2019

Brexit: What tech workers moving from the UK to Ireland need to know

Currently, we are receiving enquiries from IT professionals interested in moving from the UK to Ireland because of Brexit. This article looks at relocation opportunities for these workers.

For IT professionals moving from the UK, there are good opportunities in most locations around Ireland. IT skills are increasingly valuable to companies in all sectors and businesses are competing to attract and retain talent, knowing that it can be difficult to replace key people in a tight market. For candidates, the best way to find suitable roles is to register with a specialist IT recruiter.

Work Permits

For IT workers, work permit requirements vary depending on your country of origin. An advantage, however, is that IT skills are regarded as ‘critical’ for the Irish economy.

Irish nationals relocating to Ireland

Of the 90,300 people who immigrated to Ireland in the year to April 2018, the Central Statistics Office estimates that almost a third (31.5 percent) were Irish nationals.

While Irish nationals do not need permission to live and work in Ireland, spouses/civil partners may be affected by restrictions if they are non-EU nationals. You can find information about this on the Citizens Information website.

Eolas Recruitment has assisted many UK-based Irish nationals to find suitable roles in Ireland. In our experience, concerns about Brexit coupled with family connections, work opportunities, and the strength of the Irish economy are the factors most often cited by candidates when asked why they want to move back to Ireland.

UK nationals moving to Ireland

The number of UK nationals moving to Ireland has been rising since the 2016 Brexit vote. According to the Irish Passport Office, 84,855 applications were received from Northern Ireland and 98,544 from Great Britain last year, an increase of 2 percent and 22 percent, respectively, over 2017.

The Irish Times recently reported that British citizens living in Ireland will not have to take any action to protect their existing rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The article, published in January 2019, quotes Tánaiste Simon Coveney who said a new bilateral arrangement between the UK and Ireland to protect the Common Travel Area (CTA) is “ready to go”. Under the CTA’s reciprocal arrangements, UK citizens can live, work and study in Ireland.

EU citizens moving from the UK to Ireland

There appears to be good evidence that Brexit is already having an impact on the number of EU citizens working in the UK. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, an estimated 2.27 million EU nationals were working in the UK in the period October—December 2018, 61,000 fewer than a year earlier.

Under the EU’s freedom of movement rules, EU workers can take up employment or self-employment in Ireland without needing an employment permit.

EEA and non-EEA nationals working in Ireland

EEA nationals can also live and work in Ireland without a work permit, subject to satisfying certain conditions, however non-EEA nationals may require a visa to enter Ireland depending on the country of origin. Having said that, technology employees enjoy good mobility and many roles in the IT sector are covered by the Critical Skills Employment Permit which we have written about previously on this blog.

Changes affecting non-EEA national spouses and de facto partners of persons who have permission to reside in Ireland on the basis of a Critical Skills Employment Permit came into effect on 6 March, 2019. This is good news for non-EU software developers and other IT professionals on the CSEP list as it makes it easier for their spouses to work in Ireland. You can find more information on the recent change here.


Anecdotally, candidates are hearing that accommodation costs are high in Ireland and that it can be difficult to find suitable homes to rent or purchase. This is most pronounced as a barrier for workers on low to mid-salary levels. In Dublin, where rental demand is strong and rents are high, apartments in the most expensive areas can command a monthly rent of €2,000 or more; however, in the least expensive locations outside of Dublin, average rents are often under €700.

Foreign direct investment is a significant factor driving the success of Ireland’s economy. Ireland is a gateway to the EU and the US and Dublin is home to many of the world’s leading multinationals. Opportunities for IT workers are not confined to the capital, however: employment in IDA client companies reached 229,057 last year and 58 percent is now outside of Dublin—the highest number of people employed by IDA clients outside of the capital in the history of the organisation.


Employees in Ireland are taxed through the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) system. Under this system, your employer deducts tax from your pay packet each pay period. As well as income tax, you must pay Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and a Universal Social Charge (USC). These payments are also deducted from your pay by your employer. Depending on your personal circumstances, you will be able to claim certain tax credits which will reduce your tax bill. You can find more information on tax rates and tax credits on the Revenue website.

In addition to basic salary, some employers offer employees other benefits such as shares or share options. These can be exempt from income tax if the company’s share scheme has been approved by Revenue, however they are still liable for PRSI and USC.


Candidates who successfully relocate to Ireland often enjoy a good lifestyle with many saying that they enjoy the friendly atmosphere and good social scene as well as easy access to the countryside and opportunities to enjoy the arts, sports and outdoor activities.

Finding Suitable Roles

Given the presence of many of the world’s top companies, there are excellent opportunities to advance your career in Ireland. As mentioned, the best way to find suitable IT roles is to register with a specialist IT recruiter. Currently, at Eolas Recruitment, we are seeing strong demand for Java, Python, .NET and C++ developers. Specialist skills in data science, cybersecurity, business intelligence and data analytics are also highly prized.

Depending on your expertise, Eolas Recruitment can source relevant opportunities for you. With 20 years’ experience in the IT sector, we have an excellent network and strong relationships with many leading employers which means we often know about upcoming roles before they are advertised. To find out more about our services and how we can help, please get in touch.

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