Nationals of the following countries can work in Ireland without needing a work permit

  • United Kingdom
  • All the member countries of the European Union (except Romania and Bulgaria)
  • Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland

Citizens of all other countries require a work permit
Although Romania and Bulgaria are members of the EU, their citizens need a work permit.

Ways to work in Ireland

  1. Working holidays
  2. Work permits 
    Green cards
    Work permits
  3. Spousal permits

1. Working holidays

Young adults from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand and USA can do working holidays in Ireland.


  • Employment is supposed to be casual or temporary
  • You will need to show you have sufficient funds to support yourself during the initial part of your stay in Ireland. This is 2500Canadaian and NZ dollars, 500,000Yen, for US €1500 (or equivalent)
  • You need to leave Ireland at the end of the 12 months.
  • You need to show evidence of a return plane ticket or funds to purchase one
  • You need to apply and be approved in your home country before entering Ireland (however, applications can be made in the UK by Australian nationals only).

Eligibility and availability differs by country.

Australia: Open to ages 18-30.

Applying in London

Australians are able to submit an application form for a working holiday in Ireland to the Irish Embassy in London. You need to provide:

  • Current valid passport
  • 2 current passport-style photographs with your name on reverse
  • Processing Fee
  • Current Curriculum Vitae (with references)
  • Originals of any qualifications you may have obtained
  • Where applicable, letter from school/college
  • Original bank statement showing that you have AUS$2,500 and a return ticket, or AUS$5,000 (or equivalent)

Applications take 4-6 weeks to be processed.  
All supporting documentation submitted with the application must be original. 
Fee: £46

New Zealand:

Open to people 18-30. Allowed to spend one year in Ireland. 2000 places available per year. Cost NZ$140. Processing time: about 10 working days.


Eligibility: Canadians who are full-time post-secondary students and/or 2009 grads, minimum age 18; no maximum age limit.  Part-time students are not eligible. 
Non-students are eligible between the ages of 18-35. 
Allowed to spend 1 year in Ireland. You can do a working holiday more than once, but there must be a 12-month gap in between. 
Apply 6 weeks prior to departure.
The fee is C$400


In order to qualify for the programme participants should be either in post-secondary education or have recently graduated (ie within the last 12 months). Allowed to spend 1 year in Ireland. 
Fee is €250 or US$ equivalent. 
5000 places per year 
return air ticket and travel insurance required

Argentina: ages 18-30. Allowed to spend one year in Ireland. Limited to 100 people per year. Information

Japan: Ages 18-30. Allowed to spend one year in Ireland. 

Hong Kong: ages 18-30. Limited to 100 people per year. Allowed to spend one year in Ireland.

2. Work permits

To obtain a permit to work in Ireland, you will need a job offer from an employer.Once you a job offer, you can apply for permission to work in Ireland.

There are two forms of permission to work in Ireland.

Green card permits

  • Granted for jobs that pay more than €60k per year
  • Will be granted for jobs paying €30-60k in particular fields, eg health and finance. Click here for a list of jobs paying €30-60k for which green cards can be issued
  • Issued for 2 years
  • Employers are not required to advertise the job in order to give an Irish or EU citizen the first crack at taking the job
  • If this is your first employment permit in Ireland then you are expected to remain with your employer for 12 months (unless there are exceptional circumstances). After that you may change employer provided that a new application for a Green Card permit is made.

Work permit

  • Granted for jobs with an annual salary of €30,000 or more
  • There is a very limited list of jobs paying less than €30,000 for which work permits will be granted. Click here for list of jobs paying less than €30k for which work permits can be issued
  • Issued for 2 years
  • Your prospective employer must first have advertised the job (called a labour market test). This is to ensure that Irish or EU citizens are given first chance at obtaining the job, rather than a foreigner
  • If this is your first work permit in Ireland you are expected to stay with your new employer for 12 months (apart from in exceptional circumstances). After that you may move to a new employer provided that a new application for a work permit has been made. If you are moving to a similar job a labour market needs test is not required. If you are changing occupation a labour market needs test must be done.

If you have a job offer that fits one of the two criteria above, approval of a work permit or green card is not automatic. However, in most cases it is straightforward.

Some jobs are ineligible for the issuing of work permits and green cards, including office administration and hospitality (excluding chefs)

3. Spouse permits

If your spouse has a green card or a work permit with more than 12 months’ duration, you can apply for a spousal work permit.If this is granted, you can take any job, and the employer is not required to perform a labour market test before giving you the job. Spousal work permits are usually granted initially for the duration of your partner’s work permit. You need to show a marriage certificate to prove the relationship with your spouse.

There is no fee for spousal work permits.

Applying for green cards and work permits

Either the individual with the job offer or their employer can apply for a green card or work permit. 

What you need to supply when applying:

  • The fee of €1000 (for green cards of six months or less it’s €500)
  • Evidence of your qualifications, skills or experience for the job
  • Evidence that labour market test has been undertaken by the employer

If you are granted a green card or work permit you need to check if you also need a visa in order to enter Ireland. For a list of which nationalities need to apply for a visa, click here. Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans etc etc do not need a visa.

If you do need a visa: apply at the embassy in your home country, or online where available. You will need to supply a copy of your green card or work permit application. Once the visa is approved, you can then enter Ireland.

Information for all non-EEA nationals arriving in Ireland

All non-EEA Nationals entering Ireland and wishing to stay in the country for more than three months must obtain an Immigration Certificate of Registration Card within the first month of their arrival in the country.

To do this you go to the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dublin, or at a local police station if you are living outside Dublin, and present your green card or work permit or other permission. You will receive a Certificate of Registration (also called a GNIB card), which will cost €150.