Sunday 21 July 2019

Why contracting can make coming home easier for Irish emigrants living abroad

Contract roles can hold lucrative opportunities for Irish people returning from overseas 

Contract roles can hold lucrative opportunities for Irish people returning from overseas 
Contract roles can hold lucrative opportunities for Irish people returning from overseas 

Sinead Doherty

For Irish emigrants abroad, it’s a fortuitous time to consider moving home.

Ireland’s level of unemployment is at its lowest in a decade, and the economy is experiencing strong growth, bringing a multitude of employment opportunities across a range of industries. So if you’re thinking about coming home, now's a good time to see what job opportunities are out there.

When Irish emigrants do return home, the generally accepted advice is that they should secure a permanent role as quickly as they possibly can. Until they do, finding accommodation and settling back into Irish life will be more difficult without the security of a full time job.

For many this is undoubtedly a good choice but, in a job market where industries such as tech, pharma and engineering are experiencing rapid growth, different employment structures are becoming the norm. One option that brings multiple benefits and may be the perfect solution to the needs of a recently returned emigrant is the contract role. 

Contracting is now standard practice in many industries. The more innovate and high-demand a sector, the harder it can be to recruit technically proficient employees and as a result, some industries are experiencing skills shortages. Offering skilled candidates a contract role has become an effective way to secure the expertise needed on a short or long-term basis.

Yet the majority of Irish emigrants may be unaware of the advantages this type of employment structure can offer in Ireland. If you have the relevant skillset for an in-demand sector a contract role could prove to be more financially lucrative than a permanent one and greater earning power is just one benefit for a recently returned emigrant. There are many more that make contracting an attractive prospect for people settling back into life in Ireland.

Read more: Online hunting: How to navigate social media to find the best job - and the best employee

Generous pay

It's widely known that employers are willing to pay contractors more than permanent employees when they need to buy-in expert skills on a temporary basis and as the skills shortage becomes more acute, contractors are in a strong position to maximise their earnings in a short space of time. A contract role can provide earnings far quicker than a permanent position, due to faster turnaround times in the recruitment process which may be as quick as a few days. Combined with the fact they can expect to earn significantly more that their salaried counterparts, it’s an attractive alternative.



A sense of dislocation is often common for returned Irish emigrants who are moving back to a country that may have radically changed since their departure. In a contract role ‘being your own boss’ means you have both the financial freedom and the time to navigate your way through your new environment. Some roles will last for three months, while others will be for twelve months or more. Contractors can decide what length of contract is the best choice for them, something that is not afforded to their counterparts in permanent employment. 


Gain varied work experience 

In a permanent role you are often pulled in numerous directions, inevitably get involved with office politics and may be obliged to work on projects that don’t interest you. A contractor can be much more selective about the type of work they take on and choose projects that they enjoy. If a returning emigrant wants to expand their skillset now they are back in Ireland, contracting is an opportunity to develop an impressive and varied CV by working in different types of organisations and work cultures.


Temporary, flexible earnings

A contract role can often provide the lump sum you need to get set up in Ireland, from the deposit needed for a flat to a down payment on a car. Whatever your priorities, this opportunity to secure an income temporarily and on a flexible basis while you are adjusting to life at home can make the move less stressful. 


Flexible holidays

Being your own boss means once you have fulfilled your work obligations, you can take as much time off as you like. Need a block of time to view rentals in a competitive housing market or want to continue exploring new destinations around the world? You’re on your own time and can use it how you please. More and more contractors are now structuring the flow of their work around lengthy breaks between each contract to facilitate time for other life priorities.

Of course there are new responsibilities that come with being a contractor that need to be considered, such as looking after your own financial affairs and filing a tax return. For some this can be daunting prospect and can even act as a psychological barrier to embracing the life of a contractor. However, as with any unfamiliar situation, getting the right advice and support is key to ensuring you are tax compliant and there are a range of services that can make the financial side much easier. For those considering moving back to Ireland, it is an opportunity to settle back into Irish life on your own terms. 


Sinead Doherty is a tax expert with Dublin-based firm Fenero

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