Irish Residence Permit Update: Work Rights for Eligible Partners

May 23, 2024 | xpath.global

Non-EEA nationals looking to work in Ireland often require an employment permit, but those joining family members or granted residence may be exempt. The Irish residence permit (IRP) card shows your legal immigration status and rights, such as the ability to work.

The new update allows eligible partners of certain residents to automatically gain work rights, detailing the eligibility criteria, application process, and the significant benefits this change brings.

Eligibility Criteria for Spousal Work Rights

From 15 May 2024, spouses or de-facto partners of General Employment Permit (GEP) holders or Intra-Corporate Transferee (ICT) permit holders can work without an employment permit if they are currently living in Ireland with a Stamp 3 immigration permission. This change does not apply to spouses or partners in Ireland on other immigration permissions (e.g., student or visitor) or to any other dependents.

Eligible spouses or partners will be registered on a Stamp 1G permission. This allows them to take up employment without needing a separate employment permit. They do not need to acquire a new (IRP) card or make an application to change their current Stamp 3 permission to Stamp 1G.

Critical Skills Employment Permits, Researchers, and Doctors

Since 6 March 2019, spouses and de-facto partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holders, researchers under a Hosting Agreement, and Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) on a Multi-Site General Employment Permit no longer require an employment permit. The Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) will grant them permission to reside in Ireland on Stamp 1 conditions, providing direct access to the labor market.

However, dependents of CSEP holders and researchers still require a Dependant/Spouse/Partner Employment Permit to work in Ireland. Only certain categories of dependants can apply for this permit type, meeting specific criteria outlined by the Department of Justice and Equality.

Other Employment Permit Categories

Employment permits are not provided for non-EEA dependants, civil partners, or spouses of Irish nationals, EU nationals, or non-EEA nationals holding other classes of employment permits.

Spouses or partners of permit holders who are present in Ireland on different permissions (e.g., visitor conditions or Stamp 2 for studies) or without permission to be in the state are also ineligible for this automatic work rights update.

Application Process and Requirements

Initial Applications and Renewals

An application for any employment permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date. The application can be made online on the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS), with a User Guide available to guide applicants through the process and documentary requirements for each permit type.

There are up to three stages in processing an employment permit application:

  1. Application Received (Awaiting Processing): Once submitted and fees recorded, the application is placed in the relevant processing queue based on the employer type (Trusted Partner or Standard), processed strictly in date order. Applicants can track current processing dates and their application’s progress online.
  2. Processing Stage: The application is considered by a decision-maker with authority, who may request additional information to be returned within 28 days. The processor will then either grant or refuse the application for specific reasons.
  3. Review: If refused, the applicant can request a review within 28 days on the prescribed form. A confirmed refusal after review does not preclude submitting a new application following procedures for that Irish permit type.

There is no fee for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit. Renewal applications can be made online on EPOS within 4 months prior to or 1 month after the existing permit’s expiry, providing requested information and documentation.

The renewal duration depends on the primary permit holder’s or researcher’s defined period, subject to a maximum of three years. It can only be issued for the period until the expiry of the primary holder’s employment permit, researcher’s immigration stamp, or Green Card/Critical Skills Permit/Hosting Agreement holder’s immigration stamp if they no longer require a permit.

Current Stamp 3 Holders

From 15 May 2024, spouses or de-facto partners of General Employment Permit (GEP) or Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) permit holders can work without an employment permit if currently living in Ireland with a Stamp 3 permission. This does not apply to other immigration permissions or dependents.

Eligible spouses or partners will be registered on Stamp 1G, allowing employment without a separate permit. They do not need a new Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card or to change their current Stamp 3 permission.

When their current IRP expires and is renewed, they will be issued a Stamp 1G. Until then, they can use the Stamp 3 to 1G notice for employers to show work rights without a permit.

Documentation for Employers

Eligible partners with a Stamp 3 on their current IRP card have had their permission varied to Stamp 1G conditions. This will be effective 15/05/2024. They do not need to apply to change from Stamp 3 to 1G or get a new IRP.

A new Stamp 1G IRP will be issued when they renew their current Stamp 3 upon expiry. Until then, they can provide prospective employers with their current Stamp 3 IRP card along with a letter.

After this date, eligible spouses and partners should have renewed their IRP cards to Stamp 1G. The Stamp 1G is contingent on the relationship with the principal permit holder, continued joint residency in Ireland, and the principal holder’s immigration status.

This update does not change application processes for Irish family reunification. As such, General Employment Permit holders typically require 12 months’ work in Ireland before seeking reunification.

 

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