Moving to Ireland: Relocation Guide

Ireland's green landscapes, historic cities, and rich culture make it a prime destination for skilled workers from around the world. With its proximity to the rest of Europe, moving to Ireland holds abundant promises of adventure and opportunity.

It's no wonder then that some employees want to relocate to Ireland. Managing any international move is no easy task, but this guide is here to help. From visas and permits to the required documents and tax concerns, here's how to move employees to Ireland and ensure a smooth transition.

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Moving to Ireland: Relocation guide by Localyze
Moving to Ireland: who is exempt from an Irish visa

Who is exempt from an Irish visa?

Citizens from the EU/EEA

These citizens can live and work in Ireland without visas or work permits.

Swiss Nationals

Citizens in Switzerland have the right to work in Ireland without needing a work visa or a permit.

British Citizens

Thanks to the Common Travel Area agreement between the UK and Ireland, UK citizens can also live, work, or study in Ireland without restrictions.

Nationals with UK short-stay visa

Ireland has the Short-Stay Visa Waiver Programme. This allows nationals of certain countries who hold a current UK short-stay visa to enter Ireland freely for tourism or business purposes up until the end of their UK visa, as long as they have entered the UK on foot before entering Ireland. Eligible countries include Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Colombia, India, Kosovo, Philippines, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

What are the types of work visas in Ireland?

Ireland offers two main types of employment permits (known as "work visas" in other countries) that allow non-EU/EEA/UK/Swiss citizens to live and work there. Unlike some other countries, Ireland doesn't require employment permit holders to obtain a separate residence permit.

The most common employment permits in Ireland are:

Moving to Ireland: critical skills permit

Critical Skills Employment Permit

The Critical Skills Employment Permit is intended for qualified workers in professions facing a shortage of skilled labor in Ireland. Higher education degrees are typically required, although that requirement can be waived with proof of sufficient practical experience.

📌 Your employee can apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit if their job is either:

📌 On Ireland's Critical Skills Occupation List, with an employment contract and a salary of at least €38,000 per year

📌 On Ireland's list of ineligible occupations, with a salary of at least €64,000 per year

Note that these salary figures are accurate as of 2024. If moving with a spouse, holders of this visa can apply for the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit.

Further useful resources: Checklist: Irish Critical Skills Employment Permit

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How to apply for an Irish permit?

As an employer helping employees relocate to Ireland, the employment permit application process is typically your responsibility. Therefore, it's important to become familiar with Irish immigration laws and the requirements of the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE).

The first thing to do is investigate which employment permit is the right fit for your employee. While the Critical Skills Employment Permit and the General Employment Permit are the most popular options, the nature of your employee's work might align with one of the specialized permits.

Thorough documentation is needed throughout the application process. See the "Preparing the documents" section below for detailed information on what's required. Perhaps the most essential document is the employment contract, detailing the job title, expected duties, and salary information.

The DETE website has detailed lists of required documents for each permit type. Note the fees and processing times for the specific permit you are applying for.

Residence permits in Ireland

An employment permit allows your employee to reside in Ireland for the duration of their employment. However, long-term residency options are worth exploring, especially if your migrating employee wants to know how to get citizenship in Ireland.

Here's what you and the employee need to know:

  • Stamp 4 Residency

The most common path to long-term residency is the Stamp 4 permit, also known as 'permission to remain without condition.' Holders of a Stamp 4 no longer need an employment permit and have broader freedom to change jobs or even take periods of unemployment.

Eligibility usually arises after a certain period of residency on the employment permit. Critical Skills Employment Permit holders can often apply after two years of residency, while other work permits typically require five years.

  • Stamp 1G

Spouses or partners of certain work permit holders are eligible for a Stamp 1G. This permit also grants the right to work without the need for a separate employment permit.

The application process

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) oversees residence permit applications. The process involves providing biographic information, proof of residence history in Ireland, financial documents, and details of their current immigration status. There is a significant fee associated with applying for long-term residency.

Moving to Ireland: qualification requirements for a work visa or permit

What are the qualification requirements for employment permits in Ireland?

The qualification requirements for employment permits in Ireland vary slightly depending on the specific permit type. Here's a breakdown of the most common scenarios:

  • Critical Skills Employment Permit qualifications

Degree or equivalent: Typically, a relevant degree qualification is needed for occupations on the Critical Skills Occupations List. The qualifications required usually align with the specific role.

Relevant experience: In some cases, extensive and relevant experience can be considered as an alternative to a formal degree.

  • General Employment Permit qualifications

Relevant qualifications: Employees generally need a qualification matching the job role on their employment contract. This might be a degree, professional certification, or trade qualification.

Work experience: If a formal qualification is lacking, significant relevant work experience may be considered at the discretion of the authorities.

Is a formal assessment of qualifications required?

If your employee's job is in a typically regulated profession (such as medicine, law, or engineering), a formal assessment is likely required. This is often conducted by a relevant Irish professional body to ensure the individual's qualifications meet Irish standards.

Qualifications earned in the EU or EEA generally have better recognition in Ireland, while qualifications earned elsewhere might trigger a formal assessment.

A formal assessment is usually not needed for unregulated professions, but the employer must sufficiently demonstrate the employee's qualifications to DETE.

Preparing the documents: What do employees need to do to get ready?

While you, as the employer, are primarily responsible for the visa application process, the employee who is to migrate to Ireland must provide several documents.

Here's a list of what they need to get ready:

  • Passport: A valid passport with a validity period extending well beyond the intended stay
  • Qualifications: Diplomas, certificates, and professional licenses relevant to the employee's profession
  • Health insurance: Proof of comprehensive health insurance coverage valid within Ireland
  • Birth certificates: For the employee, spouse or partner, and dependent children if they are relocating with family
  • Marriage certificate: Proof of marriage if the employee's spouse is moving to Ireland with them.
Moving to Ireland: preparing documents
Moving to Ireland with family and spouse

Moving to Ireland with family

Your employee's family can move to Ireland with them, although when they can move depends on the employment permit the employee receives.

Family of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders can join the employee right away. Spouses or partners can get a Stamp 1G Irish Residence Permit, which allows them to work without an employment permit.

For those with the General Employment Permit, their family can join them after their first year of employment. Note that in these situations, spouses or partners must apply for employment permits to work legally in Ireland.

Can employees move to Ireland with pets?

Families moving to Ireland can bring their cats, dogs, and ferrets, with some requirements. Other pets may be allowed, too, but it's best to check with Irish immigration authorities before making travel plans.

Here are the requirements for each pet:

  • Microchip: All pets must be microchipped with an ISO-compliant microchip
  • Rabies vaccination: Pets must be vaccinated against rabies after the microchip is implanted and at least 21 days before they arrive in Ireland
  • EU Health Certificate: A recognized veterinarian in the employee's country of origin can prepare this certificate, confirming microchipping, rabies vaccination, and any other required treatments

In addition, dogs from non-EU countries must be treated for tapeworms. A veterinarian must administer the treatment one to five days before the dog's arrival in Ireland.

Pets must arrive in Ireland via approved ports of entry to receive a compliance check.

Approved ports include:

📌 Dublin Airport

📌 Dublin Port

📌 Shannon Airport

📌 Cork Airport

📌 Ringaskiddy Port, Cork

📌 Rosslare Europort

Compliance checks must be arranged ahead of time, ideally one week before travel. Pets found to be non-compliant may be returned to their origin country at their owner's expense.

Moving to Ireland with pets

Health insurance on a visa: What are the requirements?

Health insurance is a critical component when relocating to Ireland, particularly for employees on visas. While Ireland boasts a well-developed public healthcare system, access and eligibility can vary depending on immigration status. Here's what you, as an employer, need to know about health insurance requirements:

Ireland's healthcare operates on a two-tiered system:

  • Public healthcare: This is financed by the state and offers either free or heavily subsidized services depending on an individual's eligibility
  • Private healthcare: Personal health insurance plans are also available in Ireland. They generally provide faster access to a broader range of treatments and specialists

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss/UK nationals relocating to Ireland typically need private health insurance as a condition of their initial visa. This ensures they don't rely on the public system until they gain eligibility. Employees must provide evidence of comprehensive private coverage when applying for their visa and upon arrival in Ireland. A list of approved companies is available on the Irish Health Insurance Authority website.

Moving to Ireland: How to prepare for the registration appointment

How to prepare for the registration appointment in Ireland

This appointment is mandatory for most non-EEA nationals obtaining a visa or work permit and is where they'll officially receive their Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card. Here's what you need to know to help your employees prepare:

Book appointments at the Burgh Quay Registration for employees who will be located near Dublin and the surrounding area. Spots can fill quickly, so advise your employee to book as soon as they have their visa approval. Outside Dublin, registration appointments are made with the local Garda (Irish police) Station. Your employee should contact the station covering their residence.

For the appointment itself, the following documents are typically required:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address in Ireland via a lease agreement or similar document
  • Employment contract
  • Bank statements showing sufficient funds to support themselves
  • Diplomas and professional qualifications (if relevant)
  • Recent passport-style photographs
  • Immigration registration fee (as of 2024, this is €300)

Tax & social security needs

Moving employees to Ireland exposes your company's tax and social security obligations, as with any relocation. Compared to other countries, Ireland's regulations can be incredibly complicated. Here are the main issues your company needs to be aware of:

  • Residency taxation: Ireland operates a residence-based taxation system. If your employee becomes an Irish resident, their worldwide income is subject to Irish income tax
  • PAYE system: Ireland's income tax is collected through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. As an employer, you'll be responsible for registering with the Irish Revenue and deducting income tax, USC (Universal Social Charge), and PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions from your employee's salary
  • Tax credits: Your employee may be eligible for various tax credits, reducing their tax burden. Understanding these can help attract talent
  • Split-year treatment: Your employee may qualify for this provision in their arrival year, potentially reducing their Irish tax liability
  • Double taxation agreements: Depending on your employee's home country, double taxation agreements might prevent them from paying tax in both Ireland and their home country on the same source of income
  • PRSI contributions: PRSI provides both employers and employees access to a range of social benefits in Ireland, including illness benefits, pensions, and maternity benefits
Moving to Ireland: Tax & social security ID
How to find housing in Ireland

How to find housing in Ireland

The real estate market in Ireland is similar to other developed nations in that demand for housing is greater near highly populated cities. Therefore, rent in Dublin will be higher than in other areas. Like other locales, Facebook groups and online classified sites feature plenty of listings for homes and apartments. However, this is a less-than-ideal forum for remote negotiations.

Instead, seek out real estate agencies in the area where your employee will relocate. Professional agents typically offer remote viewings and are skilled in working on contracts online. Going with a real estate professional will yield more options, allowing you to find appropriate housing for your migrating employee and their family.

FAQs about moving to Ireland

The prospect of moving to a new country always raises questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about moving to Ireland.

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