Ireland Immigration Requirements

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Immigrating to Ireland can be approached through several routes. In order to do so, there needs to be a basis for immigration, such as joining a family member or taking up a job. Work and family based immigration are two popular routes into Ireland for foreign nationals. It is also possible to immigrate through being a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Union (EU). Each of these routes has different immigration requirements which must be met in order to live and work in Ireland.

EU Nationals

Citizens of European Union countries are not required to get any paperwork in advance in order to live and work in Ireland. This is one of the easiest paths to immigration with few requirements, since the laws that govern the European Union state that members can move freely between states.

Initially, EU citizens have the right to live in Ireland for three months. Their stay can be extended beyond that if they are employed or self-employed, if they have enough savings to support themselves and they're dependents living with them, or if they are students in a current program of study and have health insurance. No further registration with the authorities is required.

Work Permits

For non-citizens of the European Union, a work permit is required in order to go to Ireland to live and work. Either the employer or prospective employee may apply for a work permit by submitting an application to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. Only specific job types and salaries are considered eligible for work permits. As of June, 2010, qualifying jobs had to offer a salary of at least $44,000 or more per year. Certain categories of employment, such as retail work, drivers, hotel staff, clerical staff and laborers are ineligible for work permits.

Eligible jobs include highly skilled positions such as doctors, teachers and solicitors. Jobs in Ireland must meet a Labour Market Test in order to be opened to a potential immigrant. This means that the position must be advertised with the FÁS/EURES employment network for at least 8 weeks and in both local and national papers for at least six days.

Non-EU Spouses

Marriage to an Irish citizen is a simple path to immigration, but spouses from outside the European Union must take extra steps once they arrive in Ireland in order to live and work there legally. These steps must be taken before the expiration of the entry clearance stamp placed in their passport upon arrival. Immigrants in this category must apply to the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service for permission to remain. The application must be made in writing and requires the foreign spouse to present their passport, marriage certificate and supporting information such as bank statements and payslips to show a steady household income in order to ensure that the applicant will not need to rely upon public funds. Once this application has been approved, the foreign spouse will receive a passport stamp allowing them to live and work in Ireland.