Ireland has adopted new COVID-19 travel and immigration policies, including a new exemption to quarantine rules.

  • Under a Statutory Instrument that took effect Feb. 3, the government has exempted a limited number of essential workers from Ireland’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.
  • The Statutory Instrument also mandates that travel advisors take appropriate action to notify travelers of Ireland’s travel rules.
  • The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) has adopted new measures for employment permit applicants from visa-required countries.

Exemptions to 14-day quarantine. Ireland requires most arrivals from abroad to quarantine for 14 days at the address listed on their Passenger Locator Form. The Feb. 3 statutory instrument provides exemptions to the 14-day quarantine for individuals traveling to Ireland to carry out essential repair, maintenance, construction or safety assurance of:

  • Critical transport infrastructure.
  • Critical utility infrastructure.
  • Manufacturing services.
  • Information services.
  • Communications services.

The exemption is not available to travelers from “Category 2” countries. Category 2 countries currently include: Angola, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Republic of South Africa, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. All other countries are in Category 1.

Obligations on travel organizers. The Statutory Instrument states that any company or facilitator of travel into Ireland must take appropriate action to notify travelers of applicable COVID-19 travel restrictions. It places an obligation on travel organizers to refuse to organize, effect or facilitate the travel of individuals to Ireland if they have not satisfactorily met all requirements.

Employment permit applicants from visa-required countries. The DETE continues to process applications for employment permits. However, given current restrictions, it may not be possible for individuals from visa-required countries to travel to Ireland, unless the individual qualifies for entry under priority/emergency situations.

As such, the DETE has begun a process of contacting all employment permit applicants (employers and employees) who hold passports from visa-required countries. These applicants will be asked if they would like to:

  • Proceed with the employment permit application because the role is on the priority/emergency list;
  • Hold their application in the queue for processing at a later date, once the temporary COVID-19 arrangements have been rescinded; or
  • Withdraw the application with a full refund.

Employment permit applicants from visa-free countries. Employment permit applications for nationals from countries that do not require a visa will continue to be processed.

Travelers are encouraged to review the current policies before traveling to Ireland. Employers should note that if an employee is not subject to the exemption described above, they may need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Analysis & Comments: The Irish government continues to take steps to mitigate the spread of new variants of the COVID-19 virus. Employers should consider that this might cause delays to intended start dates of their potential employees, if the employment cannot be carried out from home. The response to COVID-19 continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in other countries.

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