An employer’s guide Visa and Work Permits for Ireland

Peninsula Team

July 27 2016

Employment Permits in Ireland are issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Either the employee or the employer can apply for a permit which must be based on an actual offer of employment. An employee granted a permit has ALL the employment rights of an Irish citizen for the duration of the permit.

The employee must have the qualifications, skills and experience required for the job. The employee must be directly employed and paid by their employer. General Employment Permit applications from recruitment agencies and other intermediaries are not acceptable. The employer must be trading in Ireland, registered with Revenue and with the Companies Registration Office. An employer cannot deduct recruitment expenses from the employees pay or retain their personal documents.

An employer should notify the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation of any changes in the employees’ employment if employed on a work permit.

An employer who employs an employee without a valid employment permit is guilty of an offence and is liable to the below:

  • fine of up to € 250,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison

In cases where there is no work permit in place the employee is also liable to:

  • fine of up to € 3,000 and/or up to 12 months in prison

What about VISA’s?

Residents from certain origins will need a VISA to land in Ireland. The valid VISA is placed on your passport which indicates you are authorised in the State. This person will be subject to immigration control at the point of entry to Ireland even if they have the VISA already.

If you are a citizen of the EEA (details below) you do not need a VISA to land in Ireland.

The EEA is an area of free trade and free movement of peoples comprising the member states of the European Union, in addition to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The member states of the European Union are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania.

The Human Resources Department of Companies has no input or influence on the VISA application process.

GNIB , what’s the difference?

GNIB stands for Garda National Immigration Bureau.  The Bureau carries out deportations, border control and investigations about illegal immigration.

All non-nationals who are not citizens of a member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, must register with An Garda Síochána and at all times have a valid registration certificate in the form of a GNIB Card, the stamps on the cards broken down as follows-

Stamp 1
Individuals entitled to work subject to the terms of the relevant valid employment permit (as per above)

Stamp 2
Students attending a recognised full-time course of at least one year. They are permitted to work for 20 hours a week during term time and full time (40 hours per week) during holidays

Stamp 2A
Students who are attending a course not recognised by the Department of Education and Science. They are not permitted to work.

Stamp 3
Individuals who are not permitted to work. This includes visitors; retired people of independent means; ministers of religion and members of religious orders; and spouses and dependents of employment permit holders.

Stamp 4
Individuals are permitted to work without an employment permit or business permission. Applies to spouses of Irish nationals; family members of EEA citizens; refugees and parents of an Irish citizen child who have been granted leave to remain.


What’s a Green card?

Green Card permits are issued for occupations where a high-level strategic skills shortage exists. Green cards are issued for a duration of two years and therefore an application for a Green Card is dependent on a job offer of two years or more. Permits are issued to individual employers and are not transferable.

The annual salary must be €60,000 or more. The application fee is €1,000.

The application must be linked to the employment offered and after 2 years an individual can apply for a GNIB stamp 4.

Case Law:

Kildare restaurant operator fined €1,000 for employing a man with no work permit.

The restaurant was prosecuted by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for employing the worker without a permit.  The defendant had been in Ireland 10 years but did not speak English.

In 2013 a Department inspector called to the defendant who could not produce a permit for the employee. The employee did have a PPS number but no work permit. The judge fined the restaurant €1,000 for failing to have checked the employee had a valid working permit for Ireland.

Employers are strongly advised to seek advice if they feel they are faced with an issue regarding work permits in Ireland and GNIB cards at work or if you have any queries in respect of the above then please contact Brian Murray and our employment law advice team at our 24 Hour Advice Service on 01 855 50 50.

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