Blog » Looking for your next career move? » Visas, Stamps And Permits: What You Need To Know About Working In Ireland


So you have decided to look for a job in Ireland, now it’s time to think about work permits and stamps. If you are not sure where to start, this article is for you!


Employment Permits

If you are a NON-EEA National that wants to work in Ireland, must hold a valid Employment Permit. The department of enterprise, trade and employment’s website is a great resource, they list employment permit types:


Critical Skills Employment Permit

IT roles are categorised as critical skills. Therefore people with tech skills can apply for a specific Critical Skills Employment permit. This permit is designed to attract highly skilled people into the Irish labour market with the end goal of them taking up permanent residence in Ireland and contributing to the growth of the Irish economy.

Specific Skills:

  • Information technology and telecommunications directors
  • IT specialist managers
  • IT project and programme managers
  • IT business analysts, architects and systems designers
  • Programmers and software development professionals
  • Web design and development professionals
  • All other ICT professionals not elsewhere classified


What makes this permit attractive?

  • A Labour Market Needs Test is not required.
  • Critical Skills Employment Permit holders can apply for immediate family reunification and once their partners and dependants are resident in the State they are eligible to seek any employment in Ireland.
  • Permit holders may apply to live and work without an employment permit upon completion of the Critical Skills Employment Permit’s duration.


The criteria that must be met to be eligible for this type of permit:

  • A number of roles (contained in the Critical Skills Occupations List) require a minimum income of €32,000 and a relevant degree qualification or higher.
  • A non-EEA national who does not have a degree qualification or higher, must have the necessary level of experience.
  • Applicants must have secured a 2 year job offer from the prospective employer. 

The Process:

  • An application for any employment permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date.
  • An application to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit can be made online on the Employment Permits Online System.
  • Click here to review the Critical Skills Employment Permit Checklist
  • An application can be made online on the Employment Permits Online System.
  • The processing fee for a Critical Skills Employment Permit is €1,000. If an application is unsuccessful then 90% will be refunded



The next step is residency. Following a successful application for an employment permit, an applicant should apply to their local Irish Embassy/Consulate for an entry visa.

*Click here to find an online visa application form:

*Click here to find contact details for Irish Embassies/Consulates and a list of visa required countries:


Arriving in Ireland

Anyone wishing to enter the State are subject to the usual immigration controls. Therefore, you must bring relevant documentation, including your employment permit, which must be available for inspection. Remember, entry to the State is always at the discretion of the Immigration Officer.

It is very important to know that an employment permit is not a Residence Permission. In order to be lawfully resident, it is a requirement that all non-EEA nationals register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

This is where stamps come in.

After applicants have registered with the GNIB Stamp 1 is applied. This stamp has to be renewed after one year.

After two years you can apply for a Stamp 4 letter of support.

Once you are on a Stamp 4, you are allowed to reside and work in the State without the need for a further employment permit. Your Stamp 4 will then be valid for 2 years, which is then renewable subject to meeting all relevant criteria.

Upon achieving 60 months residency permission, you will then be permitted to make an application for long term residence.


There are several types of stamps with different names, eg Stamp 1G etc. Each stamp outlines permissions and limitations, such as activities stamp holders can partake in in Ireland and time period constraints.

The most common stamps which allow you to work Ireland are:

Stamp 1

Stamp 1 indicates permission to work or operate a business in Ireland, subject to the conditions. This stamp is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.


Stamp 1G

There are two types of 1G Stamps:

  • Graduate Student
  • Spouse of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder

Stamp 1G – Graduate Student

A Stamp 1G indicates that you have completed your studies in Ireland and have permission to look for employment here under the Third Level Graduate Programme, subject to conditions.

  • With this stamp you can work full time.
  • You are not permitted to operate a business or be self-employed.
  • If you wish to continue working after your Stamp 1G expires, you must find a job that is eligible for an employment permit and then follow the usual application process.

Stamp 1G – Spouse of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder

The Stamp 1G allows the spouse of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder access to the labour market without an Employment Permit.

  • With this Stamp you are not permitted to establish or operate a business.
  • Renewal of the Stamp 1G should be applied for annually and after 5 years on a Stamp 1G, you may apply for Stamp 4.
  • This Stamp is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Stamp 4

The Stamp 4 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specific period, subject to these conditions:

  • You can take up employment without an Employment Permit.
  • You can establish and operate a business.
  • You may access state funds and services as determined by Government departments or agencies.
  • This is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Examples when used:

You may apply for a Stamp 4 if you had permission to work in Ireland:

    • With a valid Critical Skills Employment Permit for 2 years.
    • With a valid employment permit for 5 years.
    • As a researcher (with a valid Hosting Agreement) for 2 years.

You may apply for Stamp 4 if you are granted permission:


To summarize:

If you are a NON-EEA National, you would be able to work/have access to the labour market in Ireland if:

  • You obtain a valid work permit.
    • Depending on your occupation you may be eligible to apply for a Critical Skills Work Permit. You need to make sure you meet the criteria laid out for a Critical Skills Work Permit. With this permit you will be then on a Stamp 1 and after two years you can apply for a Stamp 4.
  • Or you are the spouse of a Critical Skills Work Permit holder and you can then obtain a Stamp 1G.
  • Or you graduate and can then apply for a Stamp 1G.
  • Or you wish to join your spouse that is an Irish Citizen, Civil Partner or de-facto partner.
  • Or you wish to join your EU/EEA or Swiss family member based on EU Treaty Rights.
  • Or you wish to join a family member who has immigration permission based on Stamp 4EUFAM (ie EU Treaty Rights).



I want to acknowledge that this information was obtained on the website of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the website of the Department of Justice. Please refer to these websites for all up to date information, as changes may occur after the time of writing this article.

Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment, Employment Permits, viewed[MvdW5]  21 February 2021,

Department of Justice 2020, Permission, stamps & conditions, viewed[MvdW6] [CKM7]  21 February 2021,


Marelize Van Der Westhuizen


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