Connecticut, US

Mar 06 2019

Eligible Spouses of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders Can Start Work Sooner


The situation

In a change of policy, eligible spouses of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holders can now start working in Ireland immediately upon obtaining a Stamp 1 Irish Residence Permit (IRP), rather than having to obtain a separate employment permit through a time-consuming process.

A closer look

  • New applicants. Spouses and de facto partners of CSEP holders who appear at an Immigration Office on or after March 6, 2019 can request a Stamp 1 IRP, which will allow them to work in Ireland under the new rule with immediate effect. Note that self-employment is not possible under a Stamp 1 IRP.
  • Transfer of permit possible. Eligible spouses who applied for work authorization based on the prior application process (who are likely still awaiting their authorization due to the prolonged processing times) can schedule an appointment with their local immigration office to transfer their authorization under the new policy. The CSEP permit holder must attend the appointment as well. However, due to lengthy appointment waiting times in Dublin, it may still take 50-80 calendar days to obtain an IRP in such cases.
  • Unaffected categories. Spouses of other permit holders, including the Intracompany Transfer Permit and General Employment Permit, are still required to obtain a separate employment permit. These categories are still not eligible for work authorization on the basis of their spouse or de facto partner.



The change should make the CSEP category more attractive to foreign workers seeking to relocate to Ireland with their spouses.

Eligible spouses should benefit from faster and easier access to the Irish labor market. 


The change follows several years of campaigning against the previous employment permit process, which many considered cumbersome and bureaucratic.

Looking ahead

This change is in line with the government’s efforts to streamline existing immigration processes to encourage highly-skilled foreign nationals to fill positions for which local workers are not readily available, particular in the growing information, technology and communications sectors.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to