18 Sep, 2023

Employer's Legal Duty: Confirming Employee Right to Work in Ireland

When hiring non-EEA nationals, employers must ensure that successful candidates hold the necessary employment permits.

In Ireland’s tight labour market, a shortage of employees for certain roles has resulted in more employers seeking to hire candidates from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). However, before agreeing to take on non-EEA workers, it is essential to ensure that they have the necessary documentation to comply with Ireland’s immigration and work permit regulations.

Understanding the Basics

In addition to the EU Member States, the European Economic Area (EEA) comprises Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein. Individuals from these countries, and from the UK and Switzerland, do not require a work permit to take up employment in Ireland. However job applicants from most other countries (ie non-EEA nationals) require a valid employment permit and/or relevant immigration permission to live and work in Ireland.

Employment permits

Employment permits are issued by the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment from its offices at Earlsfort Centre, Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2, D02 PW01.

Permit holders can only work for the employer named on the permit and in the role for which the permit was obtained. If the employment ceases before the permit expires, the original permit and the certified copy must be returned immediately to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Employer obligations

Employers must diligently assess the nationality and immigration status of their employees. This is not a once-off exercise. You must maintain awareness of your employees' immigration status for as long as they continue to be employed by you. Under the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006, it is an offence to employ a non-EEA national who does not hold an appropriate employment permit.

It is also essential to maintain meticulous records of your employees' immigration status and employment permits. These records will be scrutinised during inspections by workplace authorities and will help to demonstrate that you are complying with immigration and employment law.

Where to find help

If you employ, or are considering hiring, non-EEA nationals and require further information and/or advice on how to comply with Ireland’s employment permit requirements, contact ifac HR & Payroll Services hrservices@ifac.ie.