Recent developments in Irish Immigration Law

22 August 2016

Hosting Agreement Scheme (“the Scheme”)

In the wake of the Brexit vote, British universities are set to lose about £1 billion in EU research grants, casting doubt over the future prospects of researchers in the UK.

As the only English-speaking country in the EU, Ireland will be in a unique position, with guaranteed access to European research funding. The Irish Research Council has now launched an initiative to promote Ireland as a prime research destination and expects an increase in EU research funding in the wake of Brexit. Under the Scheme, Ireland offers researchers who meet certain criteria the opportunity to work in Ireland without requiring a work permit for up to five years. Other benefits of the Scheme include:

  • There is no charge for a hosting agreement.
  • Family members (spouse and dependants) may accompany or join a researcher in Ireland.
  • The Agreement lasts for the duration of the employment contract with the academic body.
  • The researcher will be eligible to apply for Irish residency after two years’ continuous employment under a Hosting Agreement.

While researchers are not required to obtain a work permit under the Scheme, non-EEA nationals intending to remain in Ireland beyond three months are required to register with Ireland’s national police service, the Garda National Immigration Bureau (“the GNIB”). Non-exempt nationals must also obtain an entry visa prior to entering Ireland.

Without the correct advice, these registration requirements can cause problems for those seeking to work in Ireland. Our Immigration Team can provide expert advice to those seeking to progress their research careers in Ireland and will ensure a seamless transition for any person seeking to avail of the Hosting Agreement Scheme.

New Employment Permits Online System (EPOS)

A new Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) will be available to all applicants for employment permits from September 2016. Under the new system, employment permit applications and the submission of supporting documentation can be made via EPOS along with payments of fees through a secure payment gateway. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (“DJEI”) has stated that EPOS will offer:

  • An intuitive online user experience.
  • Ease of application completion with helpful information and relevant mandatory fields.
  • Mandatory documentation identified per Permit Type with helpful information.
  • Fast turnaround of Applications.

European Union (Posting of Workers) Regulations 2016 (“the Regulations”)

In July 2016, the Government transposed an EU Directive in relation to the enforcement of posted workers’ rights. The intention of the Regulations is to ensure workers posted to Ireland are better protected and can enforce their rights under the original Posted Workers Directive.

The Regulations impose a new requirement on EU-based service providers when posting workers to Ireland to provide a declaration to the Workplace Relations Commission (“the WRC”), providing information which will allow the WRC to monitor posting activity and ensure compliance with posting rules.

Due to the broad definition of a “posted worker”, it appears the declaration to the WRC is an additional notification obligation in respect of certain employees seconded or “posted” to Ireland from an EU-based entity pursuant to a:

  1. Contract for Services Employment Permit;
  2. Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit;
  3. Atypical Working Scheme Visa; or
  4. The Van der Elst exception.

Failure to comply with this requirement is an offence and may result in financial penalties against both the service provider and its responsible individuals of up to €50,000.

Online Booking System for Appointments for Immigration Registration

In August 2016, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (“INIS”) announced the introduction of a new online system for booking appointments for immigration registration at the GNIB. This system is only applicable to those registering at Burgh Quay in Dublin.

With the introduction of the online booking system, applicants will be given clear appointment times and will no longer be required to queue for lengthy periods in order to register.

The new Scheme is set to be launched in late August 2016.


For further information please contact:

David Heneghan
Solicitor, Immigration Group,

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