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Critical Changes for Partners of Critical Skills Holders

25 Mar 2019

Varun Obhan

With talent shortages across several sectors, the INIS has finally made it easier for spouses of non-EEA Critical Skills permit holders to work in Ireland. Varun Obhan outlines the changes.

The Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) is designed to attract highly skilled people into the labour market with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residence in the State. If you’re not a member resident of the EU or Switzerland, you will require a job permit to work in Ireland. Eligible occupations under this type of permit are deemed to be critically important to growing Ireland’s economy, are highly skilled and are in significant short supply in the Irish labour market.

Occupations such as ICT professionals, engineers and medical staff are all catered for under this type of employment permit. However the main problem for CSEP holders up until recently has been the fact that it has been virtually impossible to allow their spouse or de-facto partner to work. With rents at extraordinarily high levels, this has been a major inhibitor for people coming to work and/or continue to stay in Ireland.

A new development within the Employment Permit regulations for Spouse/Partner/Dependents of CSEP holders announced on 6th March 2019 is welcome news that will immediately open up the job market to a section of the skilled workforce which previously had to undergo a long and tedious process. An estimated number of over 5,000 existing people would move into this category immediately. Around 1,000 would relocate to Ireland every year to join their families and this will affect them directly.

The earlier process required that the Spouse or De- facto Partner, living in Ireland with a Stamp 3 permission to reside in Ireland, would first have to find a job, get a job offer from their prospective employer and then apply for a work permit with the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and if granted, only then could they legally work in Ireland on a Stamp 1.

As per the revised immigration arrangements, effective from 6th March 2019, the INIS will grant eligible spouses and de-facto partners of CSEP holders, permission to reside in this State on Stamp 1G Conditions which provides direct access to the labour market without the need to obtain an employment permit.

So what does it mean for you?

If you are a Spouse or De-facto Partner of a CSEP holder living in Ireland

  • You do not need a Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit (DPSEP) from DBEI to work in Ireland.
  • If you have a Stamp 3 and want to access the Irish job market, you can attend your local immigration office with your spouse/partner who holds a CSEP, present a copy of the CSEP and the immigration department will change your status to Stamp 1G conditions without the need to obtain a DPSEP from DBEI.
  • You have the right to work part-time or fulltime in Republic of Ireland.
  • Your periods of residence will be considered as reckonable residence in the State if you choose to make an application for naturalisation.
  • The validity of your Stamp 1G conditions without the need to obtain a DPSEP from DBEI will be linked to the CSEP of your Spouse or De-facto Partner.

If you are a prospective employer of a Spouse or De-facto Partner of a CESP holder

  • INIS will grant eligible spouse and de facto partners of CSEP holders permission to reside in this State on Stamp 1G Conditions without the need to obtain a DPSEP from DBEI.
  • Eligible persons will hold an Irish Residence Card (IRP) issued by their local Immigration Office. The date of validity will be specified on the IRP.
  • The holders of this IRP and Stamp 1G permission obtained under this scheme have full access to the labour market in Ireland on a full or part-time basis as an employee for the duration of the IRP.

As a recruiter and a spouse of a CSEP holder, I applaud this development and believe it will be hugely beneficial for both prospective employers and employees who are eligible under this scheme. This move will bring easy access to both jobs and talent thereby contributing to the growing economy of the Republic of Ireland.  

Varun Obhan is a consultant with Brightwater’s Engineering division in our Cork office. He specialises in placing engineering professionals across a wide range of industries in Munster and Connacht. Varun can be contacted on  (021) 4221000 or email v.obhan@brightwater.ie