Do I need a work permit for atypical working schemes?

If you’re coming to Ireland from outside the EEA, you need to know this

Written by spunout


Normally people from outside of the EEA who want to work in Ireland will need an employment permit. The EEA is the the European Economic Area (the European Union countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, there are some cases where workers from outside the EEA can do short-term contract work in Ireland without an employment permit.

There is a fee of €250 to apply. This is non-refundable. If you’re accepted onto an atypical working scheme, you won’t be able to bring your family with you to Ireland.

Who can qualify for an Atypical working scheme?

You can only come to Ireland on an atypical working scheme if you’re needed by an Irish-based company. At least one of the following will have to be true before the company can offer you the job:

  • You will need to be able to provide a highly specialised skill
  • A skills shortage will have to have been identified in the area you work
  • You are working as a locum doctor for an agency
  • You are working as a nurse or midwife on the RCSI Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme
  • You are taking a position as an intern or short-term employee in Ireland as part of an approved third-level course.

Who isn’t able to qualify?

In most cases where you are looking to work in Ireland but aren’t a citizen of an EEA country, you should look into getting an employment permit rather than an atypical working scheme. You aren’t able to get on the atypical working scheme if:

  • You are living in Ireland
  • You’re coming to Ireland for job reasons for up to 90 days
  • You already have an employment permit
  • You have another special authorisation to enter and work in Ireland.

Companies based in Ireland also have a legal requirement to make sure less than 50% of their employees are non-EEA nationals at all times. You can’t be offered a job through the atypical working scheme if it would mean the company you’re going to work for would then have less than half of its workers from the EEA.

How to apply

You can apply to the atypical working scheme by using the application form available here. The group you apply to is the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). You must include a letter from the Irish-based organisation that you will be working for. The form will need your signature even if a person or company is applying on your behalf. The process will take around ten working days and if you’re accepted, you’ll get a Letter of Approval. It’s important that you don’t travel to Ireland until you have this letter.

You should allow at least 20 working days for the process of your Atypical application.

Extra steps after you’ve been approved

After getting your Letter of Approval, you may need to apply for a visa to stay in Ireland. You will need to enclose your original letter in your visa application and wait around eight weeks for processing. Only start applying for a visa after you’ve received your Letter of Approval.

Once you’ve arrived in Ireland, you’ll need to register with your local immigration officer if you intend to stay for longer than 90 days. You can do this at your local Garda (police) headquarters or, if you’re staying in Dublin, at the Garda National Immigration Bureau offices. It’s vital that you do this on time if you want to stay and work in the country.  

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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