The Irish Government has announced that the spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holders will be able to access the Irish labour market without the need to obtain an employment permit. This change will streamline existing processes and result in a more attractive offering for both investors and international talent.

Critical Skills Employment Permit

Jobs that have been identified as highly-skilled are needed across all sectors, particularly the ICT sector, to ensure that Ireland’s economic growth is secured into the future. To meet this need, the Critical Skills Employment Permit is designed to attract these highly skilled individuals into the State to fill these high-demand vacancies, where the required skills are not readily available in the Irish/EEA labour market.

One of the primary benefits of the CSEP over others includes the option for the Permit holder to apply for immediate family reunification. Added to this has been the option for the dependent, spouse or partner to apply for a specific employment permit, should they choose to work and if they find a job, however, the existing system has resulted in unnecessary delays.

The CSEP scheme is for occupations where there are high-level strategic skills shortages in the State. The issue of a critical skills permit is contingent on a job offer of at least two year period, and the foreign national concerned must possess the relevant qualifications, skills or experience that are required for the position. A labour market needs test prior to making an application is not necessary, and the employee will be able to apply for immediate family reunification. A critical skills permit is issued to the employee and allows his/her employment in the State by the named employer in the occupation specified on the permit. A copy of the permit is sent to the employer.

Dependent Partner Spouse Employment Permit

The Dependent Partner Spouse Employment Permit (DPSEP) is designed to support the attractiveness of Ireland as a location of employment for potential and current CSEP holders and Researchers.

Under the current process a non-EEA national, who is the dependant/partner/spouse of a CSEP holder, wishing to be in employment in the State was required seek a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit on the basis of their Stamp 3 immigration permission. On foot of a job offer, the Stamp 3 holder may make an application for a Dependent/Partner/ Spouse employment permit and if granted, the non-EEA national may reapply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) in the Department of Justice & Equality for a change of immigration status prior to taking up the employment.

Under the revised process, the requirement for spouses and de-facto partners to obtain an employment permit is being removed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI). The INIS will grant eligible spouses and de-facto partners of CSEP holders permission to reside in this State on Stamp 1 Conditions which provides direct access to the labour market without the need to obtain an employment permit.

The Dependant/partner/spouse of a CSEP holders has a broad access to the Irish Labour Market, the criteria for the grant of such an employment permit, apart from the connection to a CSEP holder are:

  • A minimum hourly remuneration of at least the Irish National Minimum Wage;
  • A minimum working work of 10 hours; and
  • All employments are eligible apart from domestic work.

It is open to spouses and de facto partners of persons who are currently resident in Ireland on Stamp 3 conditions to attend their local immigration office with their spouse/de-facto partner who is the holder of a CSEP to obtain a permission to reside on Stamp 1 conditions without the need for an employment permit. They must provide a copy of the CSEP.

The local immigration officer will issue eligible persons a new Irish Residence Permit (IRP) on Stamp 1 conditions without the need for a DPSEP.