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Who needs an employment permit?

Under the Employment Permits Acts, in order to work in the State, all non-EEA nationals require a valid employment permit or relevant immigration permission from the Minister for Justice which allows them to reside and work in the State without the requirement for an employment permit. The EEA comprises the Member States of the European Union together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The Employment Permits Acts 2003 to 2014 establishes that an employer shall not employ a non-EEA national except in accordance with an employment permit, except in the cases listed below. 

The following non-EEA nationals do not require an employment permit:

(A) Van der Elst Case The European Court of Justice delivered a judgement on the Van der Elst Case (Freedom to Provide Services) on 9 August, 1994. The Court ruled that in the case of non-EEA workers legally employed in one Member State who are temporarily sent on a contract to another Member State, the employer does not need to apply for employment permits in respect of the non-nationals for the period of contract.

(B) Where a non-EEA national has been granted permission to remain in the State on one of the following grounds:

  • permission to remain as spouse/civil partner or a dependant of an Irish/EEA national
  • permission to remain as the parent of an Irish citizen
  • temporary leave to remain in the State on humanitarian grounds, having been in the Asylum process
  • explicit permission from the Department of Justice to remain resident and employed in the State
  • permission to be in the State as a registered student who is permitted to work 20 hours during term time and 40 hours during holiday periods
  • permission to be in the State under the terms of the Diplomatic Relations and Immunities Act 1967, and are assigned to a Mission of a country with whom the Government has entered into a Working Dependents Agreement
  • Swiss Nationals: In accordance with the terms of the European Communities and Swiss Confederation Act, 2001, which came into operation on 1 June 2002, this enables the free movement of worker between Switzerland and Ireland, without the need for Employment Permits

Permit holders after five years or more

If you have held valid employment permits for a consecutive period of five years or more, and have been working lawfully during that time, you may be eligible to apply for Stamp 4 immigration status from the Department of Justice allowing you to work in the State without requiring an employment permit.  If you do not satisfy the qualifying criteria for Stamp 4 immigration permission, you will continue to be required to hold an employment permit to work in the State.

If you have been in continuous employment with your current employer for five years or more you may be eligible to apply for an employment permit of unlimited duration. There is no fee for an employment permit of unlimited duration.

Economic Migration Policy Unit