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Coming to Work in Ireland

Who is Entitled to Work in Ireland?

Generally the following categories of people can legally work in Ireland:

  • EEA nationals
  • Swiss nationals
  • Persons granted Refugee status
  • Persons granted temporary leave to remain on humanitarian grounds, having been in the Asylum process
  • Persons with specific immigration permission from the Department of Justice permitting them to work and reside in Ireland
  • Non-EEA Students who have permission to be in the State as a registered students are permitted to work 20 hours during term time and 40 hours during holiday periods
  • Persons with Working Visa/Work Authorisation
  • Spouses, civil partners or dependents of an Irish or EEA national with permission to remain
  • Persons granted leave to remain as the parent of an Irish citizen
  • Non-EEA workers who are legally employed in one Member State, and are temporarily sent on a contract to another Member State (Van der Elst Case)

Persons not in the above categories require an employment permit to work in Ireland.

Working without a valid employment permit or employing someone without a valid employment permit is a criminal offence under the Employment Permits Acts 2003 & 2006.

You should also be aware of the following -

  • Having a PPS number doesn't automatically mean a foreign national can work in Ireland
  • Employment permits are only granted for certain categories of work
  • People working illegally are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse
  • People applying for asylum seeker status cannot legally work while their application is under consideration
  • A person cannot work while waiting for a employment permit application to be processed

Employment Permits

For information regarding Employment Permits click here. For further information or to apply for an Employment Permit, you should contact

Employment Permits Section,
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment,
Earlsfort Centre,
Lower Hatch Street,
Dublin 2, DO2 PW01.
Telephone: 01 417 5333,
0818 201 616,

Note - New immigration arrangements relating to non-EEA Doctors working in the State commenced on 1st January 2014 and require all such persons to hold an Employment Permit. Further information is available at the following link, Employment Permits for Doctors.

Information for Employees

Employees in Ireland are entitled to receive certain basic employment rights. These rights are governed by a range of detailed employment legislation.   Everyone is entitled to a written statement of their Terms and Conditions of employment,  a minimum wage rate,  an average working week of no more than 48 hours, breaks during the working day, paid annual leave, Public holiday benefit, to be paid in a legal manner and to receive a pay slip each time they are paid.  There are other employment rights, details of which can be found on the EURES website.

EURES or EURopean Employment Services, is a cooperation network between the European Commission, the Public Employment Services of the European Economic Area (EEA) Member States and other partner organisations. The purpose of EURES is to provide information, advice and recruitment/placement (job-matching) services for the benefit of workers and employers, as well as any citizen wishing to benefit from the principle of the free movement of persons.

Through the EURES job mobility database, Irish job-seekers can look for employment in 29 European countries and Non-Irish job-seekers can find out about working in Ireland. Employers can use the same database to help them recruit from and outside Europe.

Posted Workers

Information in relation to workers sent to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis may be found on the Posted Workers page.

Seasonal Workers

A seasonal worker is taken to be someone who, for a limited period works for a seasonal operation, frequently horticultural or agricultural enterprises but it can be in the tourism or construction sector.   

This includes employees placed by an agency.

Workers on Seasonal work patterns have full access to the employment law provisions and to the terms and conditions of employment that employees are guaranteed under the law in Ireland.

More information can be found on the Seasonal workers page.

Human Trafficking

Cases of suspected Human Trafficking should be reported to the Department of Justice at Trafficking for Labour Exploitation may be suspected if the following indicators, among others, are present;

  • Working too many long hours
  • Forced to do dangerous work
  • Low or no salary
  • No access to money earned
  • Dependance on employers for food, transport, accommodation
  • No tax or PRSI contributions, and no access to social supports.
  • No freedom of movement - 'locked into' their workplace.

Further information relating to human trafficking in all its forms may be obtained on the Blue Blindfold website.