In August 2019, the Irish government announced changes to its Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP), the visa designed to attract skilled foreign talent to Ireland. The permit covers only select qualified professionals, those deemed essential to filling shortages in Ireland’s most technical sectors.
The CSEP brings attractive changes for both employers and applicants, all of which hiring personnel and qualified professionals must understand before applying for the permit and relocating to Ireland.
Changes to Ireland’s Critical Skills Employment Permit
Last fall, the Irish government implemented the first round of changes to its Critical Skills Employment Permit, reducing passport validity (from 12 months to six), and increasing quotas for Employment Permits in the meat and dairy industries.
Effective January 1, 2020, additional changes went into effect. The minimum salary for CSEPs increased from €30,000 to €32,000 for roles on Ireland’s Critical Skills Occupation List, including but not limited to professionals in these industries:
- Natural and Social Sciences
- Teaching and Educational
- Business, Research, and Administration
- Quality and Regulatory
- Sales, Marketing, and Related
Minimum salaries for skilled applicants in roles not found on the list but with relevant experience increase from €60,000 to €64,000. Current Employment Permit holders remain unaffected by these changes, as do General Employment Permit and Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit holders. Employers or sponsors hiring for one of the roles included on the list must budget for this 6.7% salary increase.
General Employment Permit and Contract for Services Employment permit applications require a Labor Market Test. The Labor Market Test requires employers to advertise vacancies on Ireland’s Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for 28 days, a 14-day increase from previous requirements.
When applicable, permit holders apply for family reunification through Ireland’s Naturalisation & Immigration Services of the Department of Justice and Equality. Once permit holders’ family members receive residency, they can pursue employment through application to Ireland’s Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation. They must first apply for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit at no charge. Irish Employment Rights apply to employment permit holders once employed. After one year of continuous employment, permit holders may work for another employer.
What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Ireland’s Critical Skills Employment?
Ireland’s Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation weighs several pieces of applicants’ materials. Applicants must have a job offer from a Revenue Commissioners-registered and trading employer. Some positions require employer registration with the Companies Registration Office or Register of Friendly Societies.
CSEP eligibility largely depends on the type of occupation, outlined salary, and relevant academic degrees. Certain professions require a third-level degree or diploma. Only companies with a minimum of 50% European Economic Area (EEA) nationals at the time of application are eligible for employment permits. Startups younger than two years and registered as an employer with Revenue waive this fee if supported by enterprise development agencies, Enterprise Ireland, or Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA).
All applications must include:
- A full description of the position
- Employment start date
- Annual pay, excluding any bonuses
- Relevant qualifications, skills, and experience required
Bring the Brightest Talent to Your Organization in Ireland
Changes to Ireland’s Critical Skills Employment Permit mean easier access to the globe’s brightest talent for employers, and promising occupations for qualified foreign talent. However, the application process requires both parties to pay close attention so as not to invite error and risk application denial.
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