Firms looking to recruit overseas need not be daunted by visa process
Despite the high unemployment rate in Ireland, firms still sometimes need to bring in staff from abroad to fulfil very specific roles -- particularly in sectors such as IT.
Companies planning on doing so need to be aware of visa requirements, but shouldn't be daunted by the process.
The application process can be complex and time consuming, but it is imperative it's done correctly -- the appeals process can take two months.
There are a variety of criteria that must be met to be eligible for a work permit. The way this information is presented to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) is very important. Supporting documents are compulsory.
All documentation provided must be in English or there should be certified translation for all applications.
There are basic requirements that need to be met before a work permit or green card will be granted -- the most important are an eligible job offer and sufficient salary.
An Irish work permit allows a non-EEA citizen to work legally in Ireland for an employer in a particular occupation. The permit is generally granted for two years, but permits are available for up to six months, two years and three years depending on the case.
Immigration costs vary accordingly -- the longer the permit, the higher the immigration costs. The work permits are suitable if you don't need someone long-term, but help on a particular project or to get a new department off the ground.
To gain a work permit there needs to be a job offer from an employer that is registered and trading in Ireland.
The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have the relevant skills, experience and/or qualifications needed to fill the position.
This is generally done by submitting references from previous employers or evidenced qualifications.
If your employee is granted an Irish work permit then their spouse can apply for a spousal work permit after the main applicant has held a work permit for 12 months.
This work permit is open to a range of occupations but there is a list of occupations that are not eligible to apply including those such as drivers, carers and sales agents.
The employer has to prove that there is not someone local who could fill the position. The DJEI reckons it takes eight weeks to have correctly advertised a job vacancy.
The job must pay a salary of at least €30,000.
Jobs with an annual salary of less than €30,000 are only considered in exceptional cases.
The Green Card is another option. This is geared at professional occupations earning a salary in excess of €30,000.
The eligible occupations are all professional and include ICT staff, business and financial specialists, medical experts and scientists. If a proposed employee will earn in excess of €60,000 a year then there is no restriction on the occupation.
Once granted, the Green Card is valid for a two-year period. Permanent residency is a subsequent option.
The job offer must be on company headed paper, dated within the previous 60 days and the offer must be for a period of two or more years. The candidate's spouse can join them directly and apply for a permit if they also want to work.
One of the primary differences between an Irish Green Card and a work permit is that the former visa category does not require a labour market needs test. Processing also tends to be faster.
Another less paper and time-consuming option for an SME that has an overseas branch, and which wants to relocate staff, is the intra-company permit.
The Irish company must have a direct link with the overseas company by common ownership and the employee, who is relocating to Ireland, must be crucial to the running of the company.
There are also restrictions on the number of non-EEA nationals that can work for your organisation.
Edwina Shanahan is a manager with visafirst.com