Employing international graduates  

NCI attracts promising students from all over the world. Here's how employers can recruit talented non-Irish graduates.

Graduates from an EEA member state or Switzerland are entitled to take up employment in Ireland after their studies. Legally resident non EEA graduates may apply for the schemes below. Please note that the information below is for general information only and is subject to change. Employers and students are advised to check the website of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for updates and clarifications.   

Working in Ireland - A Guide for International Students

For more information on the working options of international students please see Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) website.

Third Level Graduate Scheme

Third level non-EEA students graduating with Irish degree awards can avail of an extension of their immigration permission under the Third Level Graduate Scheme. This scheme allows legally resident non - EEA third level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purposes of seeking employment and applying for a critical skills employment permit or general work permit.

From February 2016 this stamp is now called the Stamp 1G.

A person who qualifies for the Third Level Graduate scheme will be granted one non-renewable extension to their current student permission for a maximum twelve month period starting on the day upon which they received their exam results.

This scheme allows the person to work for up to 40 hours a week under student visa arrangements (Stamp 2) and/or to seek employment and apply for further permission to remain in the state under work permit arrangements.

Documentation & Useful Links:

New Immigration Regime for Full-Time Non-EEA Students

Introduction of new Stamp for students availing of the Third Level Graduate Scheme – Stamp 1G

Critical Skills Employment Permit

The Critical Skills Employment Permit replaces the Green Card type employment permit. The Critical Skills Employment Permit 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.

Eligibility for a Critical Skills Employment Permit is largely determined by the type of occupation, and proposed remuneration level. The following are eligible:

Occupations with a minimum annual remuneration of €30,000 for a restricted number of strategically important occupations contained in the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List. A relevant degree qualification or higher is required.

All occupations with a minimum annual remuneration of over €60,000, other than those on the Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits or which are contrary to the public interest. A non-EEA national who does not have a degree qualification or higher must have the necessary level of experience.

The prospective employee concerned must have secured a 2-year job offer in respect of the eligible occupation from the prospective employer.

As the skills are identified as being in short supply a Labour market needs test is not required. Full information on the Critical Skills Work Permit is available online and was updated in February 2016:   https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Permit-Types/Critical-Skills-Employment-Permit/


General Employment Permits

General Employment Permits are the primary vehicle used by the State to attract 3rd country nationals for occupations which are experiencing a labour or skills shortage.

Unlike Critical Skills Employment Permits where the State specifies eligible occupations, General Employment Permits assume all occupations to be eligible unless otherwise specified. Therefore, all occupations are eligible unless excluded under the list of Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits. The main attraction of the General Employment Permit for prospective candidates is that it permits a broader range of occupations than the other classes of employment permit and may be obtained in respect of a 12-month contract of employment. All occupations under the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List are deemed eligible.

Either the foreign national or the prospective employer can apply for a General Employment Permit and the permit is issued to the foreign national, and a certified copy sent to the employer, which permits his or her employment in the State by the employer in the occupation and location/s specified on the permit.

A General Employment Permit can be issued for an initial period of two years and can then be renewed for up to a further three years. After five years, the applicant may apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for long term residency.

The issue of a General Employment Permit is contingent on a job offer from a bona fide employer registered with the Revenue Commissioners and, if applicable, with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies, and is trading in Ireland. Requirements include:

  • A full description of the proposed employment
  • The employment named is not in an excluded job category under the Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits
  • Information in respect of the qualifications skills or experience required for the employment.
  • Minimum annual remuneration is generally €30,000. However, it is:
    • €27,000 in respect of a non-EEA student – who has graduated in the last 12 months, from an Irish third level institution, and has been offered a graduate position from the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List;  the minimum annual remuneration must be €30,000 at renewal stage;
    • €27,000 in respect of a non-EEA student – who has graduated in the last 12 months, from an overseas third level institution, and has been offered a graduate position as an ICT professional from the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List; in such cases the minimum annual remuneration must be €30,000 at renewal stage;
    • €27,000 in respect of employment which requires a person fluent in the official language of a state which is not a Member State of the EEA, where the employment is supported by an enterprise development agency and the employment is in:
      • a customer service and sales role with relevant product knowledge
      • a specialist online digital marketing and sales role
      • a specialist language support and technical sales support role
  • A Labour Market Needs Test is required in most cases


Full information on a General Employment Permit is available online and was updated in February 2016 - https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Permit-Types/General-Employment-Permit/


Stamp 1A Trainee Accountancy Visa

Under this scheme, students pursuing a professional accountancy qualification (ACA, ACCA, CIMA, CPA) may obtain a Stamp 1A Trainee Accountant Permission. The maximum time allowable for trainee accountants on Stamp 1 A conditions is limited to 54 months (i.e. 4.5 years.) At the end of this period a trainee accountant who wishes to remain in Ireland will be required to secure a further permission to remain on a different basis, for example by obtaining an employment permit.


Trainee accountants holding Stamp 1A are required to sit a minimum of three exam papers per year, to pass at least two exams per year and successfully complete two work place objectives each year as a minimum requirement.


Non-EEA graduates, on Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A Student permission who having studied in Ireland to complete a qualification (NFQ 7-10) granted by an Irish Authority and who have not exceeded the overall 7 year time limit may transfer to Stamp 1A Trainee Accountant Permission for the balance of the 7 year time limit1 . To stay beyond the 7 years the graduate would be required to secure an alternative immigration permission from that of a Stamp 2 or Stamp2A student or Stamp 1A Trainee Accountant (for example as an employment permit holder)


Full details of the scheme can be found here.

Work Placements/ Internships

Internships are permitted in courses at NFQ 7 and above.

The internship or work placement component of the course cannot exceed 50% of the duration of the course. e.g. a 4 year course would permit 2 years of work placement. In addition the employment cannot be in a self employed capacity.


The employment will be subject to any requirements determined by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation, in the area of employment rights, rates of pay or related to the operation of the labour market. This will be a matter for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. The employment will also be subject to the relevant taxation requirements such as PAYE.

Work placements as part of an academic programme must form an integral part of the course as accredited and their completion contribute to the final award. Educational establishments must also ensure that the placements are appropriate to the nature and level of the academic programme being pursued

Further details: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Students%20BookletA4%20(white%20cover)%20sept%202010.pdf/Files/Students%20BookletA4%20(white%20cover)%20sept%202010.pdf

Casual & Part Time Work

Non-EEA students with Stamp 2 permission to remain are allowed to take up casual employment. They can work up to 20 hours a week during term time and up to 40 hours a week from May to August inclusive and from 15 December to 15 January. http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/moving_to_ireland/studying_in_ireland/immigration_nonEEA_students.html