Are you considering hiring foreign workers in Ireland?
In a competitive labor market, you may need to explore a larger talent pool to fill your vacancies – especially in cases where local workers aren’t available.
The practice of employing workers from outside the EU is not new for Irish businesses. As reported by The Economic Times, Ireland granted nearly 18,500 employment permits in fields such as healthcare, accommodation and food services, agriculture, and fishing, over seven months.
However, if you need to hire foreigners to fill a role, you must ensure that you are compliant with Irish immigration regulations so you don’t run afoul of the law.
Want to learn more? Let’s jump straight in.
5 Steps to Recruiting and Hiring Foreign Workers in Ireland
In most cases, non-EU nationals need an employment permit to take up employment in Ireland.
As an employer, you could face serious legal consequences if a foreigner is employed in your company without the necessary permit.
These penalties include fines and even prison time for up to 10 years.
That’s why it is essential to arm yourself with knowledge and learn the exact steps you must follow when hiring foreign workers in Ireland.
Step 1: Check if You Meet the Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers in Ireland
To be able to hire foreign workers in Ireland, the position must meet the following requirements:
- The job is not on the list of ineligible occupations. This list covers professions where there is a sufficient local labor force to meet demands for these positions. Even if the idea of hiring foreign workers in Ireland appeals to you, you must first check if the position is on the list of ineligible employment. If so, you won’t be able to hire workers from outside the EU.
- The annual salary for the role is at least € 30,000, with certain exceptions
- The number of non-EU workers at your company is below 50% (this is known as the 50/50 rule)
Step 2: Conduct a Labor Market Test
Before initiating the international recruiting process, you must complete a Labor Market Test.
Overall, the Labor Market Test requires you to show evidence of a lack of sufficient, available, and qualified Irish or EU workers to perform the job.
Irish regulations mandate market testing through the following methods:
- Advertising the position through the Department of Social Protection Employment Services and EURES for at least 28 days
- Publishing the job ad in a national newspaper for at least 3 days
- Displaying the job ad in either a local newspaper or jobs website for at least 3 days
You can find more information on the Labor Market Test on the website of the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE).
Exemptions from Labor Market Testing
In the majority of cases, conducting a Labor Market Test is necessary when hiring foreign workers in Ireland.
However, there are a few situations when market testing is not required. The most common examples include:
- The position is included on the Critical Skills Occupations List
- The annual remuneration for the position is at least € 64,000, as long as the position is not on the list of ineligible occupations
- The job involves caring for someone with serious medical needs. This applies if the foreigner has been their primary caregiver for a specific period, and now the person relies heavily on them
Step 3: Recruit the Right Candidate
If, after conducting the Labor Market Test, the vacancy remains open, you can move forward with international recruiting.
The most convenient option is to advertise the role on VideoWorkers – the only recruiting platform available on the market that shows candidates’ skills in action.
VideoWorkers offers a dedicated skill presentation video for each candidate profile, streamlining the hiring process and enabling you to choose only those candidates who meet the job requirements.
When recruiting, make sure the candidate has the qualifications required for the job. You are not allowed to hire a foreigner who cannot show evidence of their qualifications.
Once you’ve found the perfect match, you may send them a work contract. The contract must state that the offer is contingent on their legal eligibility to work in Ireland.
Step 4: You or Your Future Employee Apply for a Work Permit
In Ireland, the most common type of work permit is the General Employment Permit.
Either you or your future employee can apply for a work permit through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
You can apply online using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). When completing the application, you will be required to attach the following documents:
- Worker’s passport valid for at least 12 months after the proposed date of arrival in Ireland
- A passport-type photo of the worker
- Employment contract
- Evidence that the Labor Market Test has been conducted (this includes copies of job advertisements)
- A statement from the Revenue Commissioners that displays the employer’s monthly statutory return. Alternatively, you can submit a receipt for this return issued via the ROS (Revenue Online Service) or evidence of payments made to the Revenue Commissioners through SEPA monthly direct debit payments.
- If the position must be registered with regulatory bodies: registration or license number
- For applications for HGV drivers: copy of a CE or C1E License
You will also need to provide specific details about the company, position, and prospective employee.
To access the full list of information and documents you must provide when applying for a work permit, please refer to this link.
The fee for a work permit application is € 1,000. However, in the unfortunate event that your application is refused, you will get 90% of your application fee back.
As far as the processing time is concerned, it can take between 1 and 3 months for the Department to review the application. This typically depends on the current workload.
Click here to learn more about the application processing times.
Step 5: Your Future Employee Applies for a Visa for Ireland
Once you’ve received a positive answer on the work permit application, your future employee must apply for an employment visa.
They can complete the application online via AVATS.
After completing the online application, they will receive instructions on where and how to submit the supporting documents. These documents include:
- Two passport-size photographs not older than 6 months
- Passport valid for at least 12 months after the date of arrival in Ireland
- Fully completed and signed application letter
- Employment permit from DETE
- Employment contract
- Letter from employer
- Proof of qualifications and work experience (e.g., professional certificates, most recent payslips, personal tax statements)
- Proof of sufficient financial means (e.g., most recent bank statements)
- Medical or travel insurance
- Previous visa refusals
The fee for a single-entry visa is € 60, while the fee for a multi-entry visa is € 100.
The average processing time for an Ireland employment visa is 8 weeks.
More details about the employment visa for Ireland can be found on the website of the Department of Justice.
After Entering Ireland
Within 90 days of entering Ireland, your employee must register with the local registration office. This process allows the competent authorities to record a foreigner’s permission to stay in Ireland.
In most cases, your employee will need to submit the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of employment
After registering their presence in Ireland, your employee will get an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). The registration fee is € 300.
For more information on how to register the immigration permission, click here.
Hiring Foreign Workers in Ireland: Final Considerations
In Ireland, the Workplace Relations Commission conducts thousands of inspections each year. Many of these inspections are unannounced.
That’s why it is essential to ensure you comply with employment permit requirements before hiring foreign workers in Ireland. This will help you avoid any legal problems.
Hopefully, the guidelines outlined in this article will help you navigate the process successfully and access the diverse talent pool that many countries outside the EU have to offer.
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