Moving to Ireland – my experience (and everything you need to know)

This July my husband & I re-located from living in Queenstown New Zealand to my home country of Ireland. Having lived abroad for 10 years (with stints living in Whistler Canada and Sydney Australia as well as New Zealand) it was a big deal for us moving to Ireland. Despite me being an Irish citizen (I’m from the cool city of Cork) & living in Ireland from the age of 3 up to 23, when I left for Australia – there was still a lot for me to get my head around in re-locating to Ireland. Here, I will detail all the hurdles we faced in moving to Ireland as well as the positive side to ‘moving home’.

kinsale, ireland, colourful irish town
Colorful Kinsale, County Cork

Is it hard to move to Ireland?

For us visa-wise it was easy to move to Ireland as I am an Irish citizen and my husband is British. If you’re coming from the European Economic Area (these are all the countries in the European Union and Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) you’re in luck. You don’t need a visa for Ireland nor a work permit.  You will however, need to prove your financial stability after three months of living in Ireland.

If you are a non-EU/EEA national, you will need to get permission to work from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI). The type of work permit you apply for will depend on your job type and duration of your stay. 

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Here, I will detail all the hurdles we faced in moving to Ireland as well as the positive side to 'moving home'.

Do I qualify to move to Ireland?

There are 9 work permits you can apply for in Ireland, but the most popular work permits are the Critical Skills Employment Permit and the General Employment Permit. I will list these work permits & their qualifications below.

Critical Skills Employment Permit

For this work permit you must first meet one of two qualifications. The first is that you do not work for a profession that is found on the ineligible jobs list. If your profession is on this list then you may not apply for this visa.

One requirement for applying for Ireland’s Critical Skills Employment Permit is having a profession that is considered “highly skilled” These professions are sought after because these jobs are currently facing major shortages in Ireland. These professions include – Engineering; Natural & Social Science; Health, Information & Communication Technology among others. For a fully up-to-date list, see the DBEI’s website.

In addition to the above, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • if your profession is on the “highly skilled” list, then you must receive an annual salary of at least 30,000 EUR;
  • if your profession is not on the “highly skilled” list, then you must receive an annual salary of 60,000 EUR;
  • your offered work contract must be for a period of two years;
  • you must hold the relevant degrees and experience required to accept your position.

Once your Critical Skills Employment visa has been granted, you must remain with your company for at least one full year. Once the year is up, you may change employers. Your employer must also prove that their company has a staff made up of at least 50% EU/EEA citizens at the time of your hiring.

General Employment Permit

If your job and salary do not qualify you for the Critical Skills Employment visa, you can apply for the General Employment permit. Be warned, your job still cannot fall on the ineligible list of occupations.

This visa can last for six months or two years dependent on the job you are offered. If you apply for a six-month permit, the permit cost will be 500 EUR; a two-year permit is 1,000 EUR.

The following are the requirements to be eligible for the Irish General Employment Permit:

  • you must earn a minimum of 30,000 EUR per year (exceptions are made for recent higher education graduates, who can earn a minimum of 27,000 EUR annually);
  • your employer must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners and with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies;
  • your company must be made of at least 50% EU/EEA citizens unless they are a startup or you are the only employee;
  • you must have the relevant degree(s) and experience necessary to qualify for the position for which you have been hired.

Other popular work permits in Ireland

  • Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits: is a work visa and a family visa. It is issued to the dependent, partner, or spouse of a Critical Skills Employment permit holder. It allows holders to work in any profession, even ones that are on the ineligible list
  • Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit: It is issued to individuals who transfer to the Irish branch of a company in which they are already employed. This is typically only available for senior management, key employees, and trainees.

You can read about all the other work permits available in Ireland here

Where do I Apply for a Work Permit to Ireland?

You will need to fill out the application form on the Employee Permits Online System (EPOS). You or your employer can submit the application.

cliffhouse hotel waterford ireland
Enjoying a break away at Cliff House Hotel, Waterford

Next step – Apply for your Irish Work Visa

You may only apply for this after you have applied for your work permit. It is called a long-stay D-visa. Unlike the work permit, you will apply for the work visa through the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS).

When you finish applying for the work permit, you will be prompted to submit all of your supporting documents such as your passport, CV, proof of medical insurance, etc. Visa decisions are typically given eight weeks after submitting your application.

Work visa costs will vary from 500—1,000 EUR depending on the length of the visa’s validity.

blarney castle ireland
Blarney Castle, County Cork

How much money do you need to move to Ireland?

It can be quite expensive to live in Ireland especially if you plan on living in one of the big cities like Dublin or Cork. Dublin especially can be extortionate for rent, depending on the area expect to pay up to €2,000 per month! Here’s a detailed guide I wrote about renting in Ireland that I’m sure you’ll find very useful!

Average rent in South County Dublin is €2,156 per month, followed by South Dublin City at €2,094 per month, Central Dublin at €2,016 per month and North Dublin City at €1,847 per month.

In Cork on the other hand the average rent in the city is now €1,372. In Cork county areas, the average rent is now €1,031. At the other end of the scale counties like Leitrim, Donegal, Longford & Roscommon are significantly cheaper.

For your daily expenses this gives you a good insight into how much things like dining out, a a takeaway coffee and even a liter of milk will cost you in Ireland.

To have a good standard of living in Ireland I would guess that you would need to earn a minimum of €13.50 per hour, more in Dublin considering the extortionate rent costs. Of course, to reduce the cost of rent you may chose to rent a room in cities like Dublin or Cork. To search for the best property rentals, I recommend Daft.

cobh, cork, irish colourful town
Cobh, County Cork

Can foreigners buy property in Ireland?

There are no restrictions for foreigners purchasing property in Ireland. Once you find a suitable property, make an offer and engage the services of a solicitor. The offer does not legally bind you to buy. Once your offer is accepted, your Solicitor will draft a Deed of Conveyance. This is a document that transfers the property into your name. This will be sent to the seller´s solicitor for his approval. The vendor´s solicitor will then draw up a contract for the sale of the house.

Now, you must pay a non-refundable 10% deposit. The process usually takes 6 to 8 weeks. Stamp duty is to be paid next. Then the sale of property is registered at the Land Registry Office or at the Registry of Deeds. This part of the process can take up to another six months.

Sligo town

Can I move to Ireland without a job?

You can travel to Ireland without a visa for three months only. Any plan to stay longer than that and you have three main options. Those options are go to Ireland to work, to study, or to retire. For the Retirement Visa you are required to have an annual income of no less than €50,000 per person. Or €100,000 for a married couple for the remainder of their lives in Ireland. Regardless of their existing cash on hand or lack of debt.

These are the jobs that are in demand in Ireland

  • Natural and Social Science (chemists, biologists, biochemists, physicists, and medical laboratory scientists);
  • Engineering;
  • Information and communications technology (ICT);
  • Health (medical practitioners, pharmacists, etc);
  • Health and Social Services (managers and directors);
  • Nursing and Midwifery;
  • Orthoptics;
  • Health Associate (prosthetists, orthotists);
  • Teaching and Education (academics with the equivalent of a doctoral degree);
  • Business, Research, and Administration;
  • Architecture (town planners and surveyors);
  • Quality and Regulatory;
  • Media (Art Director in 2D or 3D animation);
  • Artistic, Literary, and Media;
  • Design;
  • Sports and Fitness;
  • Sales, Marketing, and Related Associate.
Ireland from the sky, rolling green fields
View of Ireland from my flight

Why moving to Ireland is a good idea

For us, moving to Ireland was the best decision we could have made at this stage in our lives. Firstly I was pregnant and the uncertainty of living abroad was a little scary especially given the emergence of COVID-19. Secondly, in New Zealand I worked in the hospitality sector which too has uncertainty. Seeing as New Zealand still has not opened its borders to non-citizens/residents.

Here in Ireland, we found a cheap house to rent thanks to a friend of a friend. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions have been able to enjoy some quality time with family & friends. Having been abroad for close to 10 years – this is the nicest part of moving to Ireland for us.

I’ve just written this detailed blog post about finding a place to rent in Cork Ireland – which can pretty much be applied to all of Ireland!

Important information once you’ve arrived in Ireland

  • Once you have your PPS number you can apply to have your foreign driver licence changed to an Irish one. You can make an appointment here. Again, there is quite a long wait for this appointment – I waited 5 weeks for an appointment. Worth noting – is that you can only drive for 12 months in Ireland on a foreign licence.
  • For car insurance – if you are looking to be insured whilst on a foreign drivers licence, there are very limited insurers that will accept you. We found Liberty Insurance to be the most competitively priced, as they accept overseas no-claims bonus. Car insurance is high in Ireland – ours is €1600 a year on a 1.4 litre Ford Focus. Your insurance premium will be reduced when you change to an Irish Licence, be sure to let your insurer know as soon as you change your licence.
  • Arrange your Irish cell phone number before you arrive, if possible. We purchased a €5 monthly prepaid plan with Virgin which includes 60 minutes of calls, unlimited texts & unlimited data. We had our sim card sent to our address in Ireland so, it was waiting for us when we arrived. You could also have the sim card sent to your airbnb or hotel. Other popular cell phone networks are Three and Eir.

Moving to Ireland was the best decision we could have made for us at this time, who knows where our lives will take us in the next few years. But, for now Ireland is home!

Thanks for reading my blog, Aimee

wild atlantic way west cork
Me just outside Kinsale, on the Wild Atlantic Way drive

This Summer we’ve spent time exploring the best things to do in West Cork and it’s made us fall back in love with Ireland again if I’m honest. Another region I love is the very green Ballyhoura in Limerick.

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Here, I will detail all the hurdles we faced in moving to Ireland as well as the positive side to 'moving home'.
Here, I will detail all the hurdles we faced in moving to Ireland as well as the positive side to 'moving home'.

13 thoughts on “Moving to Ireland – my experience (and everything you need to know)

  1. Mee Mabansag Reply

    Can a tourist visa holder can work in Ireland? Im planning to apply a tourist visa and look for an employer in Ireland before a 90 days expires. is this possible?

  2. tom Reply

    Wow this is really too good abou the moving ireland my experience thnaks sharing this article

  3. jack Reply

    Thanks sharing this article

  4. moozi Reply

    I have to dream this dream place ,,,, i never caught this ,,,,,,,,,,,, am so lucky that i have read this blog post
    Thank you so much to give boost my travelling feeling

  5. Deepa Salekar Reply

    My daughter is studying in Dudalk and I am working with software company in India. I wish to migrate but my company doesn’t have any open positions in Dublin. Please advise which Visa I can apply for?

  6. Rutuja Reply

    Thanks a lot. Article was very much helpful and answered many queries which I had

  7. Krista Reply

    This was so interesting to read about your experience moving to Ireland, and I’m sure it will be really helpful for people in a similar situation!

  8. Charlotte Reply

    My family and I am planning on moving to ireland in the next couple of years. Half my family and myself are Irish, my husband on other hand is not. We have three children moving from Botswana to Ireland I think is best for us, more so for the children. My husband has a lot of uncertenty about moving as he has to go through the whole permit story. I have been ready up alot about what we need to do but not as clear as what you just mentioned.

  9. Dani Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful information. I’m dreaming without a plan but recently found out that my natural grandparents (paternal side) are from Ireland (and everyone before them). I am adopted and my natural father’s name is not on my birth certificate, nor have I engaged him yet to even meet. I have been trying to find out from Ireland if there is even a remote chance should all the stars line up and one day I can prove who my father is….but I am completely stuck. This is a crazy situation but I am very Irish and they allow citizenship for grandchildren of an Irish born citizen.

  10. Hilary Reply

    What health insurance do you recommend?

  11. Erika Ravnsborg Reply

    Talk about so much to do in so little time. Good luck to you in Ireland. It sounds amazing!

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