Dublin City Center - More expected to apply for Irish Green CardsGoogle Images

A new Irish Finance Bill will see an increase in Irish Green Cards, including for Americans. The announcement of the Special Assignee Relief Programme by the Irish Government has already seen the number of queries to FirstVisa increase by one third.

The programme is designed to reduce the cost of employers assigning skilled individuals to Ireland. It provides an exemption from income tax on 30 percent of salary between €75,000 and €500,000. Those who wish to avail of the programme will need to be assigned to Ireland for at least one year and a maximum of five years.

Edwina Shanahan , a manager with VisaFirst, says that the new programme will benefit Ireland as it allows multinationals and well as indigenous companies to attract key talent.

She said, “It is intended that this will generate employment through the development and expansion of current business in Ireland”.

Those Non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, including American citizens, on the salary scale (€75,000 and €500,000) are required to apply for a Green Card Permit to work in Ireland. All workers with an annual salary of €60,000 are eligible for Green Card Permits.

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They are also applicable in certain occupations where there are skill shortages who demand more than €30,000 per annum, such as health services, and the engineering, financial, science and IT sectors. The foreign national must have relevant skills and experience.

Shanahan continued, “A great thing about the Green Card Permit is that there is no requirement for a labor market needs test, so the employer does not have to advertise the positions for two months in Europe, which results in speedy processing of these work permits.”

The first step in applying for a Green Card is to prepare a letter of offer of employment to the successful candidate. The permit will be issued for two years. A renewal permit is not needed but the applicant will be required to renew their immigration registration.

“This renewal should be done within two weeks of the expiry of the initial green card permit. Holders of a Green Card permit can have their spouses/ de facto partners and families join them immediately. They will need to apply for their own Spousal/dependent work permit to work in the state but no labour market test is required for these dependant so essentially they can work in any occupation,” she said.

A non-national who has held a Green Card for two years is then eligible to apply for a long-term residence.

Shanahan said “Remember that when you are granted your Green Card Permit, to work in Ireland most nationalities still need to apply to your local embassy to apply for your visa to enter the state of Ireland, this is a separate application.”