What is the change? Ireland’s president has signed into law the Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 – a legislative reform of work permit categories and criteria.

What does the change mean? The law creates nine new Employment Permit categories and broadens the list of eligible occupations.

  • Implementation timeframe: Early to midSeptember.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment Permits.
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA applicants in new and existing categories
  • Impact on processing times: An increase in processing times can be expected while the new regime is being implemented, but it is expected that once in full operation processing times will shorten.
  • Business impact: The law introduces regulations, codifies the Irish immigration system and expands the scope of legislation governing the employment permit regime.
  • Next steps: The new regulations will provide comprehensive details on applying for employment permits.

Background: The law broadens the list of eligible occupations and high-skilled occupations, codifies the Irish immigration system and provides new legislation.

The nine Employment Permit (EP) categories are:

  1. Critical Skills (replacing the current Green Card permit)
  2. Intra-Company Transfer
  3. Dependent/Partner/Spouse (DPS) (opening this option to non-married partners)
  4. General (replacing the current work permit application)
  5. Contract For Services
  6. Reactivation
  7. Internship
  8. Sports and Cultural
  9. Exchange Agreements

The Critical Skills category aims to attract applicants in the technology and engineering fields and provides them exemption from labor market testing. Labor market testing will continue to be required of applicants in the General and Contract for Service EP categories.

BAL Analysis: The new categories, which are now codified, will greatly clarify the rules and processes for employers.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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