The hardest thing about getting a work permit for a candidate moving to Ireland from outside the EU is to decide you’re going to do it.

The process is very straight forward. If you’re hiring a software developer the candidate will probably qualify for a Critical Skills Permit. Almost all of the roles involved in software development, from UX through to automated QA, are covered.

The job offer to the candidate must be for two years or more. The salary must be over €30,000. The candidate must have a degree relevant to the role you’re hiring them for.

They’ll need to provide you with a copy of their University degree, a color copy of their passport and a passport-sized photograph.

The application process is completely online. Employers need to provide a copy of a recent PAYE/PRSI receipt (P30) from Revenue. This can be easily downloaded from ROS (you can ask your accounting department). If you’re getting more than one permit, it’s worth registering for “Preferred Partner” status which makes subsequent applications easier.

I’ve heard of applications taking anywhere from 6 days to 6 weeks. Most likely it depends on the volume they have and the applicant.

The cost of the Critical Skills Permit is €1,000. If the application is rejected, 90% is refunded. The fee is paid via credit card online.

An employee with the Permit is tied to their employer for the first 12 months. After the 12 months, they can be hired by another company but only if the new employer applies for a new Permit. After two years it’s much easier for the employee to change jobs.

So far in 2016, the single biggest beneficiary of Critical Skills Permits is the National Health Executive with 1,015 permits issued (yes, it’s not just for techies). The next biggest is Google with 173. Only two other companies have over 100 permits: Intel and Infosys. Surprisingly, the vast majority of companies getting permits are only getting one each.

It’s surprising that with a critical shortage of tech talent in Ireland, companies are not availing of the service more frequently.

P.S. If you need more explanations how, reasons why or stories of techies moving to Ireland, you should check out TechLifeIreland.


John Dennehy is the founder and CEO of recruitment company Zartis and, a recruitment software tool. He has worked as a founder or co-founder in Internet and media companies for almost twenty years.

This article first appeared in the Dublin Globe. For more articles on Dublin tech and startups, visit their website here