Corporate Immigration Ireland 2019

1 October 2019

Ireland is very much pro-business. As IDA Ireland, Ireland’s inward promotions agency succinctly puts it, “we favour green lights over red tape”, which is why we are one of the best countries in the world for ease of doing business. New business is welcomed and supported by the flow of talent coming from our schools, universities and abroad, to work for high performing companies across a range of cutting-edge sectors.

The Irish Employment Permits Regime

There are nine different employment permit schemes catering for a wide range of employment structures and assignment scenarios. Two of the most frequently used are the Critical Skills Employment Permit Scheme (“CSEP”) and the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit Scheme (“ICT”).

The CSEP is designed to attract highly skilled people into the labour market with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residence in Ireland. Eligible occupations are deemed to be critically important to growing Ireland’s economy, are highly demanded and highly skilled and in significant shortage of supply in our labour market.  Occupations such as ICT professionals, professional engineers and technologists are catered for.

The ICT employment permit is designed to facilitate the transfer of senior management, key personnel or trainees who are non-EEA nationals from an overseas branch of a multi-national corporation to its Irish branch. In particular, ICT employment permits can be invaluable in the initial establishment of a foreign direct investment company. Therefore, they play a crucial role in contributing to Ireland’s achievement of its job growth ambitions.

Atypical Working Scheme (“AWS”) and Business Visitors

The Irish employment permit schemes referred to above typically cater for work assignments of 90 days or more. However, the AWS aims to address short term employment scenarios of less and 90 consecutive days which are atypical and are not catered for under the relevant legislation of departmental guidelines.

The AWS coupled with the 90-day business visitor/business visa permission and the option to work in Ireland for 14 days or less without any form of employment permit (subject to any entry visa requirements being complied with) means that the vast majority of work assignments and business activities regardless of the time period in question are a possibility.

Third Level Graduate Scheme

This scheme allows legally resident non-EEA third level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purposes of seeking employment and applying for an employment permit.  The scheme enables non-EEA graduates (a) to remain in Ireland for a specific period (12-24 months depending on the third level qualification secured) to obtain an offer of permanent employment, (b) to work a limited number of hours per week (40 hours) so that they can support themselves while searching for permanent employment and (c) apply for an employment permit on the basis of this offer of employment. It is another way in which Irish based companies are being facilitated in harnessing the talent that they need.

Trusted Partner Initiative (“TPI”)

The objective of the TPI is to ease the administrative burden on employers in expansion mode and to remove the requirement that they replicate the same corporate information in respect of each employment permit application submitted to the Irish authorities.

The TPI will streamline and expedite the employment permit application process for employers (4 weeks approximately in the TPI queue versus 12 weeks approximately in the standard queue).  It is aimed primarily at high volume users of the employment permits regime.  This may include companies in expansion mode and start up companies.

Spouses/Partners of CSEP holders

As a result of a recent policy change, spouses/partners will no longer require an employment permit to work in Ireland. The change will allow the spouse/partner to reside in the state under Stamp 1 immigration conditions. Stamp 1 holders have direct access to the Irish labour market without the need for an employment permit.

Success of Ireland

5 of the Top 10 companies on the Forbes’ List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies have Irish operations. This underlines Ireland’s success in attracting cutting edge FDI investment across a range of sectors.

In particular, Ireland has become the global technology hub of choice when it comes to attracting the strategic business activities of ICT companies. This has earned Ireland the reputation for being the heart of ICT in Europe. The industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35bn in exports annually.  World renowned enterprises such as Microsoft, Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Airbnb, Stripe and Salesforce have all established operations in Ireland.

For further information contact David Heneghan, Immigration Associate or another member of the Immigration team at Eugene F Collins

This article was first published in the 2019 International Comparative Legal Guide to Corporate Immigration

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