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Eligibility for employment permits for employment agencies and agency workers

Under the Employment Permits Acts applications for employment permits cannot be considered from an employment agency where it transpires that the non-EEA national is to be assigned to work for, and under the direction and supervision of, an employer other than the employment agency. In order for an employment permit to be granted, there must be a direct employer/employee contract in place between the employer and non-EEA employee.

Section 1(2) and 1(3) of the Employment Permits Act, 2006 as amended, establishes that an individual is not an employer of a person where the contract of employment in place provides that the person is to do work or perform a service for a third party and this contract of employment is entered into by the individual in the course of carrying on the business of an employment agency. 

If there is such a contract, and the application is from an employment agency within the meaning of the Employment Agency Act 1971, then the agency is not considered to be the employer. An employment agency is precluded from applying for an employment permit for this category of employee. However, an employment agency can still be considered an employer for the purposes of the Acts, provided that no such contract exists. It must be clear that the non-EEA national is to work directly for the employment agency and not some other third entity. 

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) defines an agency worker as an individual employed by an employment agency under a contract of employment by virtue of which the individual may be assigned to work for, and under the direction and supervision of, a person other than the employment agency. 


Economic Migration Policy Unit