Foreign students and graduates: Tips for immigration success in Ireland
| Colm Collins

Foreign students and graduates: Tips for immigration success in Ireland

Read Manager Colm Collins' latest Ireland focused blog here

Are you a foreign student in Ireland looking for employment opportunities? Colm Collins outlines some tips for success in this Ireland focused blog. 

Spring is in the air, and in Ireland that brings with it some annual traditions: we stuff ourselves with Easter Eggs, we tell ourselves “there’s a grand stretch in the evening” as soon as we see the sun peak between the clouds after the hour of 5pm, and we may have even considered starting a Spring clean of our living space (although if you haven’t done that by now after 12 months of lockdown, then face it, it’s never going to happen).

For me, spring also brings familiar feelings of a more interesting time in my life, notably university and the promise of what a new year would bring. Granted, almost anything is more interesting than spring 2021, but one of the benefits of working in immigration is that you become tacitly involved in the exciting journeys that others are about to begin as we help prepare them for the next phase of their working lives. And recently there’s definitely been a sizeable increase in the numbers of graduates needing immigration support when they are hired following completion of their university courses.

Looking back on my student days

While this is always great to see, it has taken me back to a time that is now distant in my rearviewmirror (and that’s not a typo, but rather a hint to my vintage) when I was faced with taking the first steps in my career following graduation. I started my professional career in Ireland right after finishing my studies, but I had always wanted to work abroad so after a couple of years, I bit the bullet and tried my hand elsewhere in the world.

It’s a bit of a cliché to say that travelling is the best decision you’ll ever make, so I won’t bore anyone with that, but what people probably don’t often talk about as much is the challenge of being a “foreign worker” in another country, and how hard it is to get employment at all, let alone a job you want in your chosen career. The reality is, it can be really, really hard. The hurdles are plentiful, especially when you’re living in a big city with a massive labour market. If you bring in the additional concern that employers may have about your immigration status, it can start to feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

The immigration Challenge 

With that in mind, I’ve given consideration as to how a graduate on a Stamp 1G/2 in Ireland might be able to overcome such a feeling when they start looking at potential employment opportunities in Spring 2021. Given my own personal experience, I understand the immigration challenge can seem like a massive obstacle for an employer to overcome, but hopefully the below will be able to give graduates some confidence to get the job they really want:


  • Find an employer that looks beyond your immigration status: I understand this is easier said than done, but those employers are out there, and I promise you they’re not as concerned about your immigration permission as you are! Why? Because those employers do this all the time. They hire people from all over the world, and they have the supports in place to make sure it goes smoothly and with as minimal fuss as possible. Here at Fragomen, we literally work with hundreds of employers across the country (and the world) to assist with Irish employment permits – so I’m telling you those employers are out there. For graduates in Ireland requiring an employment permit, a really useful resource is the Statistics page on the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s website which lists every single company that was issued an employment permit for the last ten years. In 2020, there were nearly 3,500 companies that were granted an employment permit for an employee last year. The truth is out there!


  • Understand your immigration path: For those graduates who may find themselves interviewing with prospective employers, or even working with an employer that is less comfortable dealing with all things immigration, take a bit of time to learn yourself what your immigration path might look like. Often, that little bit of knowledge can go a long way to reassure an employer that there are options for you and that transitioning to an employment permit can be done. Ultimately, employers are focused on getting the right candidate, and if you have the confidence and knowledge of what will need to happen next for you, that will reassure them too.


  • You’re already here: It’s as simple as it sounds – you’re here already, so you’ve overcome the biggest hurdle of all in 2021, which is just getting to Ireland. Many non-EEA nationals are in the really difficult position of wanting to move to Ireland for work, study or other reasons, but the pandemic has caused difficulties with getting long-term permission due to the various restrictions that are in place across the world. But as a student or a graduate, you are here right now and if you’ve got the right permission, you can start working right away. At the moment, that puts you in a massively advantageous position over other candidates that are abroad. Use that advantage!

Need to know more? 

For further information and advice on navigating the Ireland immigration landscape and impacts of COVID-19, please contact Colm Collins or your Fragomen immigration professional. 

This blog was published on 25 March 2021, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep up to date with all the latest updates on global immigration and to learn more about Fragomen, visit our COVID-19 website, subscribe to our  immigration alerts and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and twitter .