October 4, 2013

Ireland has recently implemented two new Pilot Work Permit Programs, aimed at streamlining the process for highly skilled workers applying for an employment permit after a successful job interview as well as opening up the possibility of applying for employment authorization for specific groups of short term contract workers, who did not qualify for existing Employment Permits before.

What’s Changed?

Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorization

Effective July 15, 2013 non-EEA nationals who are invited for a job interview for a position included on the  Highly Skilled Occupations list can apply for an Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorization, either at the time of their visa application or at point of entry to Ireland (depending on nationality). This authorization will allow successful interviewees to stay in Ireland for up to 90 days to attend their interview and subsequently submit the application for, and await the approval of, their Employment Permit application.

The application for the Employment Permit should be filed with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) as soon as possible after the job offer has been made, as estimated processing times for these applications currently stand at 3 weeks.

If and when the Employment Permit application has been approved the foreign employee will need to proceed immediately with registering at the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Dependents are not allowed to accompany the interviewee on this special immigration status, but will need to await the successful completion of the interview as well as the Employment Permit application before being able to travel to Ireland on dependent status.

Atypical Working Scheme

The Atypical Working Scheme is designed to provide a streamlined solution for short term contract work by non-EEA nationals which, due to the nature of the work, is not currently governed by the Irish Employment Permit acts and its Administrative Procedures.

The Pilot Program came into effect on September 2, 2013, and applies to work assignments lasting between 14 and 90 consecutive days only for the following situations:

  • If a skill shortage has been identified;
  • Provision of a specialized or high skill to an industry, business or academic institution;
  • Trial employment in respect of an occupation on the Highly Skilled Occupations List;
  • Paid internships by full time students studying outside Ireland (excluding medical internships). 

Foreigners do not qualify for this Pilot Program if they are already resident in Ireland, coming to Ireland for business purposes, qualify for a Van Der Elst Judgement, or if they are participating in the above described Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorization.

Applications need to be filed at the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS), and might be further reviewed by the DJEI to assess potential impact on the labor market. Current estimated processing time is at least 2 weeks from date of application and a positive decision on the application is not guaranteed, even if fulfilling one of the above stated requirements.


It should be noted that both new Working Schemes as described in this Global Brief are Pilot Programs only.

Nonetheless, employers with open positions included on the Highly Skilled Occupations list should be aware of both the possibility for their foreign interviewees to obtain a Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorization, as well as the possibility of applying for an Atypical Working Scheme permit for a Trial Employment period.

If companies are considering applying for the latter, Pro-Link GLOBAL advises that companies clearly communicate this intention to any foreign interviewees in order to prevent them from applying for a Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorization on their own as obtaining this authorization will disqualify the foreigner from the Atypical Working Scheme.

Additionally, all companies with an entity or clients in Ireland should be aware of the new types of Short Term employment for which employment authorization can now be obtained.

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Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Knowledge Management team. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in Ireland to provide you this update.

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