15th December 2022
The Government has agreed in principle, that a single application procedure for employment permits and immigration permissions should be developed and that an Inter Departmental Working Group should be established to develop an implementation plan for consideration by Government. Currently to work in Ireland, a person from outside the European Economic Area has to first make an application to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for a work permit, and then make a second application to the Department of Justice for an immigration permission.
In April 2022, the European Commission issued a proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council concerning a single permit procedure for employment permits and immigration permissions for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State.
The objective of the measure is to address shortcomings of the existing Directive and further simplify the procedure for third country nationals wishing to migrate to the EU legally for work processes, through a single application procedure for a combined employment and residence permit. The measure also aims to strengthen the safeguards and equality of treatment of those third-country nationals.
In relation to the proposals for a single application procedure for employment and residence permits, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment have today jointly secured the agreement of Government for the establishment of an Inter Departmental Working Group to propose an implementation plan to Government within six months.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD stated:
“Access to skills and talent is increasingly important for Irish businesses, and also for international businesses thinking about investing here. All interactions between businesses and the State should be as streamlined and efficient as possible, so I fully support having a single customer application system for permission to enter and work in the State, if that is possible. It would not only improve the service we offer to business but also improve the experience for people who want to move to and work in our country. The Working Group’s report will allow the Government to consider opting-in to the single permit Directive at a future date.”
Announcing the establishment of the Working Group the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys TD stated:
“I welcome the Government decision today in relation to the establishment of the Working Group and I note that it is to report to Government within six months in relation to the operational, policy and legal objectives of the implementation of a single permit process and the Single Permit Directive. The group will also prepare an implementation plan and associated timeframes for consideration by the Government.
“As a former Minister for Enterprise, and as the current Minister for Justice, I believe that a single application procedure for work permits and immigration permissions is a very good reform. We should aim to develop a new, user-friendly system which makes it easier for enterprise and prospective workers to use. We should also aim to reduce costs through increased digitalisation and centralisation. This would increase the attractiveness of Ireland in the very competitive international jobs market and enable us to respond effectively and quickly to meet the skills needs of the economy.”
The Minister for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English TD said:
“Ireland is competing with other knowledge economies for international talent to meet our labour market needs. I welcome the approach to provide a more user-friendly, intuitive, single-application system which will deliver a more seamless customer experience for users of the employment permits and entry visa systems. Reducing the bureaucratic burden for users and at the same time maintaining the integrity of both systems will also give more certainty to the processing timeframes for applications. The move to the single-application system will help improve our attractiveness for inward investment and for mobile and suitably skilled workers from across the globe.”
Notes for editors
- Membership of the Interdepartmental Working Group will comprise of representatives from the Department of Justice; the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; the Department of Social Protection; the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; the Department of An Taoiseach and an Garda Síochána.
- The proposal for a recast Directive is part of a package of measures proposed as a follow-up to the Commission’s Communication on a New Pact on Migration and Asylum, which was adopted on 23 September 2020.
- The objective of the recast is to address existing shortcomings of the Directive and further simplify the procedure for third country nationals wishing to migrate to the EU for work purposes, through a single application procedure for a combined work and residence permit.
Details on current work permit processing times and policy
- Eight weeks is the average processing time cited by the Department of Justice for employment and study visas. The processing time can vary across the visa office and embassy network depending on local circumstances.
- All Employment Permit applications are currently being processed in between 3 and 5 business days by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Visas are not required for citizens from the countries listed below.
Non-visa required countries
Antigua & Barbuda
Hong Kong (Special Admin. Region)
Macau (Special Admin. Region)
Trinidad & Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
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