June 6, 2024

Ireland: Eligible Spouses and Partners of Employment Permit Holders granted employment rights.


On the 15th May, 2024, Ireland introduced a significant immigration reform allowing the eligible spouses and partners of certain Irish employment permit holders to work, without having previously obtained an employment permit in their own right. This change aims to make Ireland more attractive to foreign workers and increase the available foreign talent pool.

Spain golden visa working team


What has changed?

Previously, spouses and partners of Irish employment permit holders were required to obtain their own employment permit in order to work in Ireland when accompanying the main applicant. Going forwards, eligible spouses and partners can now work without obtaining a separate employment permit. This reform applies to spouses or partners with a valid Stamp 3 Irish Residence Permission under the non-European Economic Area (EEA) Family Reunification Policy.

Who is affected?

This new rule will apply to spouses or partners of holders of General Employment Permits, Critical Skills Employment Permits, Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits, Reactivation Employment Permits, Researchers on Hosting Agreements, Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors on Multi-Site General Employment Permits, or those with Stamp 4 permission after holding any of these permits. Individuals currently holding stamp 3 status will automatically be granted Stamp 1G status giving them working rights.

Furthermore, employers in Ireland will benefit from a larger labour market.

What to expect /impact?

It is expected that this move will Increase the attractiveness of Ireland to foreign workers due to improved spousal work rights. A larger pool of available foreign talent will also aid employers amid labour shortages.

Eligible spouses and partners will be granted Stamp 1G permissions, providing work rights without needing a separate permit for both initial applications and extensions.

What you need to do

Employers should update their hiring practices to accommodate the new pool of eligible workers.

Current Stamp 3 holders will automatically be granted Stamp 1G rights and can use a provided letter as proof of work rights until they renew their IRP cards. 

For further information on these developments, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at immigration@sterlinglexicon.com


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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