Immigration Categories

A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows. The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) permit, although Critical Skills applications are also common. For details on non-typical categories not listed below (investors, special programs), please contact your representative.

  • Intra Company Transfer Permit: issued to senior management, key personnel and those undergoing training, who will be paid at least €40,000EUR per annum and who have been working for the overseas company for at least six (6) months prior to the transfer. For training, this is one (1) month.
  • Critical Skills Permit: issued for occupations with salary over €60,000EUR per annum or strategically important positions with salary between €30,000 and €59,999EUR per annum where high level strategic skills shortages exist in Ireland. Job offers must be at least for two (2) year duration. They must be paid and employed by a fully trading and Irish registered company.
  • General Employment Permit: may be issued for salaries starting at €30,000 (€27,000 for certain occupations). General Employment Permit applications may only be made after a local [Economic Area (EEA)] labor market search has been carried out and it can be proved that no member of the EEA or Switzerland can be found to fill the position. Alternatively, a letter is required from an Irish government agency waiving the Labor Test or the position belongs to a category listed on the highly skilled eligible list.

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to the Intra-Company Transfer permit process. Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in Ireland is eight (8) to twelve (12) weeks. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. Average processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Step One: Intra-Company Transfer Permit Application
Processing Time:
Up to twelve (12) weeks; usual processing time is four (4) to six (6) weeks, this has increased to eight (8) to twelve (12) weeks in the last five (5) months.

The application for the Intra-Company Transfer Permit can be prepared by Emigra Worldwide with our representatives in Ireland and is submitted to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) in Ireland. The employment permit will be sent to the assignee as it is needed for the Entry Visa application (visa nationals only) and to enter Ireland.

Step Two: Entry Visa (Visa Nationals Only)
Processing Time: One (1) to six (6) weeks, depending on consulate

Once the employment permit has been issued, applicants requiring an entry visa to enter Ireland must obtain an entry visa on the basis of work permission from the Irish Embassy or Consulate accredited to deal with his/her country of residence or nationality. Dependents will also need to apply for entry visas at this stage. Favored nationalities who can enter Ireland on the basis of their passports alone can bypass this step.

Step Three: Registration with Garda National Immigration Bureau
Processing Time: One (1) day to two (2) weeks, depending on area

Immediately upon arrival or prior to date stamped on passport by Immigration officer at port of entry [within ninety (90) days of arrival at the very latest] the employee and family must be registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

Step Four: Multiple Entry Visa (Visa Nationals Only)
Processing Time: One (1) to two (2) weeks

Nationalities requiring visas to enter and exit Ireland may apply for multiple entry visas to enable them to travel freely in and out of the state.

Typical Documents Obtained

By following the Intra-Company Transfer permit process described above, the following immigration documents will be obtained. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”

  • Intra Company Transfer Permit: three (3) months to twenty-four (24) months
  • GNIB Registration Card: One (1) year or up to expiry date of employment permit
  • Multiple Entry Visa (visa nationals only): Expires with passport or GNIB card; whichever expires sooner

Renewal

Renewals are typically available as long as the applicant and company have stayed in compliance with the original permits granted. Renewals should be applied for four (4) months before date of expiry.

Renewal processes take four (4) to eight (8) weeks [up to sixteen (16) weeks should be allowed for, though]; please allow two (2) to three (3) weeks’ lead time for document gathering.

Critical Skills Permits are issued with an initial validity of two (2) years. After two (2) years the employee can apply for a Support letter from the DJEI to seek a GNIB card with a Stamp 4. Critical Skills Permit holders whose residency/ Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) documents will expire should apply at the GNIB for an extended registration, and if fitting the criteria will be issued with a “Stamp 4” permitting two (2) further years of work and residence in Ireland.

General Employment Permits are issued for an initial period of up to two (2) years and can then be renewed for a further three (3) years. After five (5) years, the work permit can be renewed indefinitely. Residency Permits/GNIB cards need to be renewed on yearly basis. After five (5) years on work permits, foreigners may apply for Long Term Residency or Citizenship.

Intra Company Transfer Permits are issued for an initial period of up to twenty-four (24) months and may be extended up to a maximum period of five (5) years, where upon they must return to their sending organization. Residency Permits/GNIB Cards need to be renewed on a yearly basis.

Deregistration

Permit holders are required to deregister and return their original Irish permits, Permit Employment letters, and GNIB cards, including any certified copies, upon leaving the country. Returned cards are collected by the government to prevent unauthorized use.

If all documents (even the certified copies) are not returned to the Irish authorities, the permit holder is considered to be still in Ireland and will eventually be marked as ‘overstaying’ in the Irish system. This will affect him/her any time he/she travels to Europe in the future.

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Ireland with an Intra-Company Transfer Permit, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses): Eighteen (18) years of age
  • Maximum age (children): Eighteen (18) years of age unless in full-time recognized education
  • Unmarried partners: Yes, if conditions are met
  • Same sex partners: Yes, if conditions are met
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): Not usually but dealt with on case by case basis
  • Work authorization granted? No

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We will advise you in detail regarding your specific case; however, general application materials for the Intra-Company Transfer permit are noted below.

  • A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application.
  • Personal documents may include: passports [valid for twelve (12) months beyond the end of the employment permit duration] educational transcripts, copy of pay slips for the previous one (1) month, detailed resume (C.V.).
  • Corporate documents include original employment contract/offer or assignment letter, detailed job description, recent P30, including Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), and confirmation of number of EEA and non-EEA nationals currently employed by the Irish entity.
  • All documentation must be submitted in English. Emigra Worldwide can assist with any translation requirements.
  • Note that the above mentioned documents are examples of what will be required and that additional documentation will certainly be necessary. Emigra Worldwide can prepare all necessary forms and can advise you of the exact documents required based upon the specifics of your case.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted: Business Visa
  • Duration of stay: Varies to a maximum of ninety (90) days
  • General activities permitted: Business meetings. A specific conference visa category exists for those travelling to Ireland to attend conferences.

Atypical Permit: An Atypical permit is a short term work permit often used by companies who wish to send employees to Ireland for short term visits but are not able to restrict them to just business activities. Atypical permits are suitable for those who intend to be in Ireland for a period between fourteen (14) to ninety (90) days.. It is not renewable immediately but the applicant can apply for another atypical permit from the time their current atypical permit expires and after twelve (12) months lapse from their departure from Ireland. If you are unsure whether your assignment may be considered as business or not, please contact your representative.

Change of Status

It is possible in certain cases for certain nationalities to convert from student to employment status without leaving Ireland; however, converting from visitor to employment status is not possible.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Ireland, there are minimum salary requirements in place. Additionally, payroll location will affect the immigration process: the Critical Skills and General Employment Permit categories both require the foreign national employee to be employed directly and paid by the Irish company. Please your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect to see an undergraduate level degree. In some situations, a strong case may be made for applicants without a degree provided their level of experience and industry specific qualification is high. Please contact your representative for more details.

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • Absence of degree;
  • Insufficient, salary  compensation and/or benefits;
  • Critical Skills Permits are only issued for job offers of two (2) years’ duration.
  • For Critical Skills and General Employment permits, assignees must be paid directly by the company in Ireland.
  • General Employment & Critical Skills Permits will not be issued where the consequence of granting the work permit would be that more than 50% of employees in the Irish entity would be non-EEA nationals.
  • Certain categories of employment are on an “Ineligible List” and will not be granted employment permits. High level corporate assignments will not be on the “Ineligible List.”
  • Intra-Company Transferees should not exceed 50% of the total Irish workforce in the Irish entity, although exceptions may be made in certain circumstances.
  • Health insurance must be provided by the employer and proof of payments and coverage are required.
  • General Employment Permit holders are not eligible for dependents to accompany them to Ireland for the first year of the assignment.
  • Lease agreement for permanent accommodation is often required to complete the GNIB registration.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The government of Ireland takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance may include fines, deportation, and imprisonment. For more details, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

  • European Union: Ireland is a member of the EU. Nationals from other EU and EEA countries do not require employment permits for Ireland. Ireland and the UK constitute a common travel area but note that UK immigration documents are NOT valid for use in Ireland (i.e. visa nationals should obtain separate visas to enter Ireland, and UK work permits are not valid for work in Ireland) and vice versa (Irish visas are not valid for travel to the UK and Irish employment permits will not permit work in the UK).
  • United Kingdom/Ireland Visitor Visa Agreement: Under the terms of a 2014 agreement, nationals of China and India may travel to either the United Kingdom or Ireland on a single visa from a set list issued by one of the two nations. The applicable Irish visas are the Short Stay Visit Visa (family/friend or tourist), Conference/Event Visa, and Business Visa. The applicable United Kingdom visas are the General Visitor Visa, Business Visitor Visa, Child Visitor Visa (accompanied only), Student Visitor Visa, Family Visitor Visa, Entertainer Visitor Visa, Private Medical Treatment Visitor Visa, Sports Visitor Visa, Prospective Entrepreneur Visa, and Permitted Paid Engagement Visa. Only holders of the noted visa types may benefit from this agreement. Chinese and Indian nationals holding other visa types would still require a visa to enter the territory of the non-issuing country. Notable omissions from the list include the UK Visitor-in-Transit Visa and the Visitor for Marriage or Civil Partnership Visa.