Critical Skills Employment Permit Information Guide

  • The Critical Skills Employment Permit is aimed at highly skilled persons in areas of employment where there is a shortage of supply of persons with the necessary qualifications and experience
  • Eligibility: there are two possible ways to apply for a critical skills employment permit:

Option 1: Occupations with a minimum annual remuneration of €30,000 for specific occupations listed in the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List. This list is reviewed and updated from time to time in line with the prevailing labour market needs of the Irish economy. In this category a relevant degree qualification or higher is required in order to be eligible to apply.

Option 2: All occupations with a minimum annual remuneration of over €60,000, other than those listed on the Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits List or which are contrary to the public interest. Under this category a non-EEA national who does not have a degree qualification or higher must demonstrate that they have the necessary level of experience.

  • In relation to both options 1 and 2 above the “50/50 rule” applies: an employment permit will not be granted to companies unless 50% or more of the employees in the company are EEA nationals at the time of application. However, this restriction may be waived in respect of start-up companies within 2 years of their establishment (i.e. registered as an employer with Revenue) and which are supported by the enterprise development agencies, Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland  (this applies to client companies of Enterprise Ireland or IDA Ireland only).
  • The Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List covers a wide range of areas including IT Tech jobs, engineering, scientists, health professionals and medical practitioners (doctors/nurses/midwives), teaching and educational professionals, business research and administrative professionals (includes certain accountancy and tax consultancy roles),certain sales, marketing and related associate professionals with an international/Non-EEA dimension or Non-EEA language requirement
  • The main advantages of Critical Skills Work Permits over other types of work permits include:
  1. The application process is more straightforward and costs less – for example there is no requirement to place advertisements on websites and in newspapers
  2. Critical Skills Work Permit holders can apply immediately for family reunification which permits a dependent, a partner or a spouse to reside in Ireland and work in Ireland pursuant to a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit which is issued free of charge
  3. Prior to the expiry of the critical skills employment permit the holder can apply for a support letter to apply for a Stamp 4 permission to remain in Ireland which permits that person to continue to reside and work in Ireland without having to a apply for a work permit
  • Duration: Critical Skills Work Permits are issued for 2 years

Note that the non-EEA national is ordinarily expected to stay with the initial employer for a minimum period of 12 months. A new employment permit (for a different employer) will not normally be considered if less than 12 months has elapsed since the permit holder first commenced employment in the State pursuant to an employment permit. The rationale for this requirement put forward by the Department of Jobs, Business, Enterprise and Innovation is to strike a reasonable balance between, on the one hand, the employer’s expectations that the non-EEA national remain in his or her employment for a reasonable period of time given the potential costs involved in recruiting that foreign national and, on the other hand, not unduly binding the non-EEA national to the employer.  Where the Non-EEA national is made redundant or circumstances (unforeseen at time of application) arise that fundamentally change the employment relationship the Department may permit a Critical Skills Employment holder to change employer

  • An applicant can apply for an employment permit if they are residing in Ireland and have a valid immigration permission at the time of application, or alternatively a person can apply for an employment permit if they have a suitable job offer and they are residing outside Ireland.

Please contact our firm if you require professional advice – our firm can act as your agent and prepare and manage your employment permit application from start to finish – send an email to [email protected] or call/message 0868561017 to make a consultation appointment or obtain further information in relation to our services in Irish Immigration Law and Work Permits in Ireland


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