Work Permit? Nurses, Construction Workers and Chefs Need Apply

Work Permit? Nurses, Construction Workers and Chefs Need Apply

Ireland has recently introduced legislation which allows non-EEA workers greater access to the labour market. The legislative amendments promote the sourcing of labour from non-EEA countries in order to address growing skill shortages in a number of sectors including health, construction and hospitality.


The requirement that non-EEA nurses and midwives hold a third level degree in order to qualify for a critical skills employment permit no longer applies since the enactment of the Employment Permits Regulations 2019 which came into effect on the 1st January 2020. The regulations now allow holders of a diploma which is recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland to apply for a critical skills employment permit. A critical skill permit carries with it several benefits most notably the fact that family members of the worker can join a holder of the permit at the beginning of their employment.

Previously nurse and midwives who did not hold a third level degree could only apply for a general employment permit. A general employment permit does not allow family members to join a worker for at least one year following the beginning of their employment. The easing of the educational requirements concerning nurses and midwives provides a greater incentive to work in Ireland due to the now greater availability of critical skills employment permits and the associated benefits. Nurses who wish to apply for a critical skills permit, must secure a job offer lasting at least two years and a salary of € 32,000.00.


The Employment Permits Regulations 2019 have also addressed the skill shortages within the construction sector. The 2019 regulations have added several occupations within the construction sector to the highly skilled list of occupations including civil engineers, quantity surveyors and construction project managers. The regulations have also removed several occupations from the ineligible list, including crane drivers, plasterers and brick layers. Electricians remain currently ineligible for an employment permit however it has been indicated that this would be reviewed at a later stage.


The hospitality sector will see a greater availability of chefs with the addition of commis chefs to those who are eligible to apply for a work permit. Previously commis chefs had been excluded under the regulations, however commis chefs with two years’ experience are now eligible to apply for a work permit

How do I know if I am eligible for an employment permit?

The ineligible list of occupations and the critical skills list are reviewed twice yearly to consider any skills shortages within the state. Both lists are updated at regular intervals and anyone wishing to review either the current list of highly skilled occupations or the ineligible list of occupations should visit  which is Ireland’s Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s website. If you would like to apply for a work permit or an initial telephone discussion, please get in touch by contacting us at (01) 833 8147 or alternatively you can email us at [email protected]