Skip to main content

Employment Permits

A non-EEA national, except in certain specific cases, requires an employment permit to take up employment in Ireland. The EEA (European Economic Area) comprises the Member States of the European Union together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. 

It is an offence under the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006 for both an employer and an employee to have a non-EEA National in employment without an appropriate employment permit.

Employment permit holders can only work for the employer and in the occupation named on the permit. If the holder of an employment permit ceases, for any reason, to be employed by the employer named on the permit during the period of validity of the permit, the original permit and the certified copy must be returned immediately to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The issuing and administration of Employment Permits on behalf of the State is handled by the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment from its offices at Earlsfort Centre, Lower hatch Street, Dublin 2, D02 PW01.

Further full information in relation to Employment Permits (who needs a permit, how to apply, fees, etc.,) are available on the Employment Permits Section of the website of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

A new facility has been made available by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment allowing an employee or an employer to make an online application for a new Employment Permit, or to renew an existing permit. The online portal may be accessed on 

Trusted Partner Initiative

Under the Trusted Partner Initiative a Person who will make an offer of employment / Employers/Connected Persons and EEA contractors may apply for Trusted Partner status. When Trusted Partner status is granted a unique Trusted Partner Registration Number is assigned. Applicants granted Trusted Partner status will have access to their own suite of employment permit application forms where they must only provide their Trusted Partner Registration number in lieu of all employer details.

Applications by Trusted Partners on the Trusted Partner employment permit applications forms only need to provide details relating to the employment and the foreign national when they are applying for a permit.


The objective of the initiative is to ease the administrative burden on employers/connected persons/EEA contractors in expansion mode and to remove the requirement that they replicate the same employer/connected person information in respect of each employment permit application made for grant or renewal.

The Trusted Partner Initiative will streamline the application process for the person making the offer of employment/employers/connected persons and EEA contractors when applying for Employment Permits. It is open to companies in expansion mode, start-up companies, as well as regular users of the permits regime.

For full details of this initiative, please see Employment Permits - Trusted Partner Initiative

For related Forms please see EPOS Online Portal

Atypical Permission Scheme for Non-EEA Fishing Crews

Nationals of non-EEA (European Economic Area) states require an employment permit or other worker permission in order to work on Irish-registered fishing vessels.

In November 2015, the Government established a high level inter-Departmental Task Force in response to allegations of exploitation of undocumented migrant (non-EEA) workers on Irish fishing vessels. The remit of the Task Force was to examine these issues and formulate a co-ordinated cross-Government response to the matter. The Task Force Report was published in December 2015 and recommended putting in place an atypical worker permission mechanism for non-EEA crew members in parts of the Irish commercial sea-fishing fleet.

The Department of Justice (Irish Immigration Service) in agreement with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, administers Atypical Working Schemes in general. The purpose of such Schemes is to provide a streamlined mechanism to deal with atypical, short term employment or certain other employment situations which are not governed by the Employment Permits Acts or by current administrative procedures under the Employment Permits Acts.

In order to qualify for an Atypical Worker Permission for Non-EEA Fishing Crews, there must be a contract of employment in place between the employer (vessel owner) and employee (non-EEA crew member) which would include a number of minimum conditions.

The Atypical Permission Scheme for non-EEA workers on Irish Fishing Vessels opened for applications on 15th February, 2016. For approximately the first 3 months (to 15th May, 2016), applications under the Scheme will be confined to non-EEA crew members who are already working in Ireland. Following this initial period, applications will only be accepted from outside Ireland.


The full conditions of this scheme are listed on pages 18 to 22 in the Report of the Task Force on Non-EEA Workers in the Irish Fishing Fleet

In summary, these conditions include the following:

  • The Atypical Working Scheme only applies to crew members working on licensed and registered fishing vessels in the Polyvalent, Beamer and specific segments of the Irish Fishing Fleet for vessels more than 15 metres in length overall.
  • The crew member must be employed directly by the holder of a sea-fishing boat licence in Ireland.
  • The crew member must have a written contract of employment for a duration of 12 months.
  • The contract must be certified by a practicing solicitor in compliance with the conditions for the employment of non-EEA crew members.
  • The employment contract must be lodged with the Central Depository (CDPA) for Sea-Fishing Boats at the National Seafood Centre, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
  • Each contract will be given a unique identifying number by CPD.
  • This number must be stated on the Atypical Working Scheme application form


The application form is available for downloading on (Irish Immigration Service). Applications should be sent by registered post to:

Atypical Working Scheme Division
Irish Immigration Service
13/14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2
D02 XK70

Applications should include the following:-

  • A copy of the employment contract with the sea-fishing licence holder in Ireland.
  • A copy of the letter sent to the applicant by the Central Depository (National Seafood Centre, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine). This letter must show a unique identifying number.
  • A copy of the page in the applicant’s passport that shows the passport number, expiry date of passport, name, gender and date of birth.
  • An application fee of €250 (non-refundable).
  • If the application is made by a solicitor or other representative, the applicant must also include a Letter of Authorisation that is signed by the applicant.

Successful applicants will be sent a Letter of Approval by Immigration Services by post.