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Working on Irish Fishing Vessels

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Permission to Work

Nationals of non-EEA (European Economic Area) countries require an employment permit or other worker permission in order to work in Ireland. Workers on fishing vessels are not currently an eligible category of worker for the purposes of employment permits.

However, non-EEA workers may, subject to the issue of the appropriate permission from The Department of Justice (Irish Immigration Service) under the Atypical Worker Permission for non-EEA Crew in the Irish fishing fleet, non EEA workers may work on certain Irish-registered fishing vessels. The permission granted under this Sector specific Scheme only applies to fishing vessels of more than 15 metres in length overall which operate in the Polyvalent, Beamer and Specific segments of the Irish Fishing Fleet. Some 180 of the 2,000 vessels on the Irish Fishing Vessel Register currently come within this category.


Applications for Permission under the Scheme

Applications for permission under the Atypical Working Scheme for non-EEA workers on the Irish Fishing Fleet should be made in writing to

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

Applications for a new permission under the Scheme will only be accepted from outside of the State, while applications to renew a crew members permission under the Scheme, or to change employer can be made from inside the State, but must be made before a person's current permission expires.

In order to qualify for permission under the Atypical Working Scheme, there must be a contract of employment in place between the employer (vessel owner) and worker (non-EEA crew member) which would include a number of minimum conditions. The contract must be certified by a practicing Solicitor and lodged with the Central Depository (CDPA) for Sea-Fishing Boats at the National Seafood Centre, Clonakilty, Co Cork.

The full conditions of this scheme, the application form, and details of the application process are available on the Irish Immigration Service website at

Atypical Working Scheme for non-EEA crew in the Irish fishing fleet

Rights and Entitlements of Non-EEA Workers on Fishing Vessels

Contract, Terms and Wages

1.   Contracts must be for a minimum of 12 months. A copy of the contract, both English and in the worker’s native language, must be given to the worker. The minimum terms to be included in the contract are available on portal.


2.   With effect from 4 March 2019, an employer must also notify each new worker, in writing, within five days of commencement of employment, of the following core terms of employment:

  • the full names of the employer and the employee;
  • the address of the employer;
  • the expected duration of the contract, in the case of a temporary contract, or the end date if the contract is a fixed-term contract;
  • the rate or method of calculation of the employee’s pay;
  • the number of hours the employer reasonably expects the employee to work per normal working day and per normal working week.

Existing workers may also make a written request to an employer for a "Day 5" statement. Upon receipt of a written request, an employer must issue a "Day 5" statement within 2 months of the date of the request.

3.   Workers are currently entitled to a minimum rate of pay of €9.80 for each hour worked. The minimum rate per hour was €9.50 prior to 1st January, 2019.

4.   Workers must be paid for a minimum of 39 hours each week (€382.20 per week or €19,943.20 per annum) regardless of whether the vessel was tied up or inactive.

5.   The Vessel Owner cannot deduct from wages any amounts relating to travelling costs, repatriation, training or application or other costs or fees relating to the Atypical Worker Permission. 

6.   Workers must be paid weekly in arrears directly into the worker’s bank account.

7.   Workers must be given a payslip or statement of wages and deductions with each payment or as soon as possible after the credit transfer has taken place.



8.   Workers must be given all appropriate training for the job. If the worker does not already hold a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Safety Card issued within the past 5 years, the employer must ensure, in the first week after commencement of the contract, that the worker undertakes Basic Safety Training with BIM.

Working Time and Leave

 9.   Workers are entitled to 4 weeks paid annual leave per leave year or 8% of the hours worked in a year whichever is the greater. Pay for annual leave must be given in advance and calculated at the worker’s normal weekly rate.

10.  Workers are entitled to a paid day off, an additional day of annual leave or an additional day’s pay for Public Holidays. If the employee is not working on the public holiday, he/she must get their normal day’s pay. If the employee works on the public holiday, he/she is entitled to either paid time off or an additional day’s pay. There are nine Public Holidays each year;

  • 1st January
  • 17th March
  • Easter Monday
  • 1st Monday in May
  • 1st Monday in June
  • 1st Monday in August
  • Last Monday in October
  • 25th December
  • 26th December

11.  Workers on fishing vessels may not, on average over a 12-months period, work more than 48 hours in any week.

12.  The following are the limits on working hours and minimum rest periods:-


In any 24-hour period

In any 7-day period

Maximum Hours of Work




Minimum Hours of Rest



 13.  A record of the daily hours of work or rest must be completed monthly in arrears and kept on board the fishing vessel. This record must be signed by the Owner/Skipper and the worker and a copy of the completed and signed form must be given to the worker.

14.  Workers should receive a copy of the Vessel Owner’s Health and Safety Statement at the commencement of employment.

Termination of Employment

15.  Workers who have been in continuous employment for at least 13 weeks, are entitled to the following notice of termination of employment:-

Length of Service

Minimum Notice

13 weeks to 2 years

1 Week

2-5 years

2 Weeks

5-10 years

4 Weeks

10 to 15 years

6 Weeks

More than 15 years

8 Weeks

16.  Workers who have been in continuous employment for at least 13 weeks must give at least one week’s notice of termination.

17.  The Vessel Owner must ensure that the worker is repatriated, at the Vessel Owner’s expense, where the contract ends or is terminated and no new contract is available, where no further Atypical Permissions are made available to the Vessel Owner and the worker has not secured a new contract with another Vessel Owner or where the Atypical Permission has been revoked and no further Atypical Permissions are made available.

Complaints and Redress

Complaints in relation to contraventions of, and disputes as to entitlements under, employment legislation, including terms of employment, minimum pay rates, payment of wages and public holiday and annual leave entitlements, may be presented/referred to the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission. Details in relation to making such a complaint may be found here.

Complaints in relation to hours of rest/work may be made to

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Marine Survey Office
Leeson Lane
Dublin 2

Inspectors of the Workplace Relations Commission carry out port inspections of fishing vessels from time to time to check compliance with the Atypical Scheme and with employment rights legislation. As part of these inspections, Inspectors will interview workers to check that they are receiving their entitlements.

Further Information

Further Information is also available in the Fishing Vessel Owners Employers Guide.

Information on employment rights is available from the Workplace Relations Commission’s Information Centre at 0818 80 80 90 and on A translation facility is available on this website. Enquiries may also be made using the WRC Contact Page on this website.

Information Guides and booklets, including the Commission’s Guide to Employment, Labour and Equality Law and Employment Law Explained which are also available in other languages, are also available on