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Critical Skills Employment Permit in Ireland

Posted: 13 Sep 2018

Critical Skills Employment Permit in Ireland

The permit - also known as Visa First - is initially issued for a period of two years, after which it can typically be renewed indefinitely.

What is the Critical Skills Employment Permit? (Updated)

Replacing the previous Green Card, the Critical Skills Employment Permit is intended to attract skilled employees into the workforce, aiming to encourage them to seek permanent residence in Ireland.

Who is eligible for a Critical Skills Employment Permit?

Professions which are currently eligible for a Critical Skills Employment Permit include:

  1. IT
  2. Engineering
  3. Technology
  4. Health
  5. Research and natural sciences

These occupations are considered critical to the growth of the Irish economy. These roles are highly skilled, in high demand and are in short supply in the existing labour market.

To be eligible to receive a Critical Skills Employment Permit, you must have a guaranteed job offer from a company which is registered with the Irish Companies Registration Office and the Irish Revenue Commissioners for trading.

The company must have at least 50% of employees with EEA national status to be eligible to offer a Critical Skills Employment Permit.

The offer of employment from the eligible company must be for a period of at least two years, written on company headed paper, and dated within the last 60 days. The offer must also state:

  1. A detailed description of the role
  2. The skills, experience and qualification required
  3. The date the employment will commence
  4. The annual salary, excluding bonuses (the salary must be a minimum of €60,000, or for a restricted number of strategic occupations, between €30,000 and €59,999)

You must also be able to provide evidence that you have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience for the role you intend to accept.

The employee must remain in the role for a minimum period of 12 months, unless exceptional circumstances such as redundancy apply.

After a year has elapsed, the employee may seek employment elsewhere, providing they re-apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit.

Which roles in the IT industry are eligible for a Critical Skills Employment Permit?

Skilled IT candidates are in high demand, as the profession is deemed critical to the growth of the Irish economy.

Roles which qualify for a permit include, but are not limited to:

  1. Analysts
  2. App. developers
  3. Data analysts
  4. Database architects
  5. Developers (all programming languages including JAVA)
  6. Systems architects
  7. Programmers
  8. Project managers
  9. Software engineers
  10. UI/UX engineers

Why is the Critical Skills Employment Permit beneficial?

  1. As the roles which are eligible for the permit are in short supply in the workforce, a Labour Market Needs Test is not required. This test is intended to ensure that roles and vacancies are, in the first instance, offered to EEA nationals. If no suitably skilled candidate can be found, the role can then be offered to non-EEA nationals  
  2. Those who are granted a permit can apply for their immediate family to be granted residence in Ireland, with the capacity to seek any form of employment in the country
  3. Permit holders can apply for permission to live and work in Ireland once the two year permit has expired

What is the Critical Skills Employment Permit processing time?

You can apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit online, using the Employment Permits System.

There are three stages to the application process:

  1. Application Received – once the application and fees are received, the application will be processed in date order by employer type
  2. Processing – the application will be considered by an official. Any additional information to support the application will be requested at this stage. The application will then either be approved or rejected
  3. Review – If an application is rejected, the applicant can appeal the decision. If an application is refused, the applicant is eligible to re-apply for a permit following the necessary step

The complete processing time for a permit will depend on when the permit application is submitted, as applications are handled and processed in strict date order.

The fee to apply for an employment permit is currently €1,000. If the application is rejected, 90% of this fee will be refunded. The fee for the Certificate of Registration is €300.

What happens once a Critical Skills Employment Permit application is granted?

Once an application is successful and a permit is granted, if the applicant requires a visa they should apply to the Irish Embassy or Consulate for an entry visa. Upon entry into Ireland, all relevant documentation – including the employment permit – must be provided for inspection by an immigration officer.

Once residing in Ireland, any non-EEA national who has been granted a Critical Skills Employment Permit must then register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau ahead of applying for citizenship or long term residency.

Spouses of critical skills employment permit holders (and former critical skills employment permit holders who now hold a stamp 4) are eligible for a free employment permit called the spousal employment permit, which, unlike the general work permit, doesn’t require a labour market needs test, and is also completely free.

What are GNIB Card Stamps?

If you are granted permission to stay in Ireland on a long term residency, your passport will be stamped by an immigration officer at the registration office.

There are several variants of stamp, each of which define the basis upon which your permission to stay in Ireland has been granted:

  1. Stamp 1 – entitlement to work in accordance with a valid employment permit
  2. Stamp 2 – students registered on a full-time course of study with a duration of at least one year. Individuals are permitted to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time and 40 hours per week in holidays
  3. Stamp 2A – students registered on a course which is not recognised by the Department of Education and Science. No eligibility to work
  4. Stamp 3 – no eligibility to work.Stamp 3 is given to all spouses and dependents of work permit holders in Ireland. While spouses aren’t allowed to work while on stamp 3, they are allowed to look for work and apply for a work permit, after which, they can apply for a stamp 1. 
  5. Stamp 4 – eligibility to work an employment permit or business permission. Applicable to spouses of Irish nationals, family of EEA citizens, parents of a child with irish citizenship who have been granted the right to remain and refugees.

If you are looking for your first role in the IT industry or you are established in your career in the industry and you’re looking for a new role, please get in touch with our expert team who will be happy to assist and advise you.  

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