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Step 1: Securing the Visa, Internship, or Study Abroad program | Print |  Email
Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Your Five Step Guide to Living and Working in Ireland

By Tara Cuskley

Back to Moving to Ireland section

"How can I move to Ireland?" More and more, this is becoming an increasingly asked question. With the economy booming and the rich culture and scenery that Ireland provides, Ireland is changing its reputation as an emigration nation. Dublin, Cork, and Galway are becoming more multicultural with every passing moment. And with generations of Irish being raised in other countries, especially in the U.S., people are being drawn back to the Emerald Isle, whether to rediscover their roots or to just experience the culture and character that modern day Ireland has to offer.

I, myself, was asking this same question two years ago. And now here I am, living and working in Galway, with a semester of study at The National University of Ireland, Galway behind me. There are a number of ways to come and experience life here, whether for a short stay or for an extended period. It's easy for students or recent graduates to get a work visa or come here on a study abroad program. It's getting harder for others from outside the E.U. who just want to come live and work, but there are ways, and legal ways at that.


For those of you who are still students, there are great opportunities to come here and study abroad. Even those considering a post-graduate study should consider an Irish University. There are seven major Universities in the Republic of Ireland: Trinity College, University College Dublin, University College Cork, The National University of Ireland, Galway, The National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University of Limerick, and Dublin City University. Each of these will have their own websites where you can find more information about different programs and application procedures. For undergraduates, you should first contact your own University's study abroad department for information and help in applying directly to your Irish University of choice or choosing a study abroad program. More often than not, students come to Ireland through a study abroad program, sponsored by universities or groups, like Boston College or CCISAbroad. Even if your university doesn't sponsor a program to Ireland, you can go through another university's program. This is a good option, as these programs may include housing, insurance, orientations, travel and sightseeing tours, and a way to meet lots of other students. I've included a few websites that can start you off on your search for study abroad programs, and its more than likely that your own University's study abroad office will have lots of information as well. Studying in Ireland is one the easiest and best ways to experience this country, and believe me, it will be one semester you'll never forget.


Another option for current students or recent graduates who aren't looking to study abroad is to do an internship in Ireland or work here on your summer off or before you begin work in "the real world." I am living and working here in Galway on a four-month visa sponsored by Bunac and USIT Ireland. I paid a one-time fee and I was allowed to arrive here on any date, within 6 months of my graduation, and look for any job here. Work abroad programs, by BUNAC and CIEE, are great options for anyone who wants flexibility and a temporary stay here. Internships in Ireland are another great option; they give you the chance to build up your resume and stand out from others in the eyes of prospective employers. You can find your own internship or be placed in one through an internship program. The one downside is that many might require you to pay a fee and they may be unpaid internships on top of that, but you can find paid ones if you search hard enough; AISEC and TransitionsAbroad can be good resources. The links below can get you started on your search for the internship that's right for you. Whether paid or unpaid, an internship can be a brilliant opportunity to get experience in a career field and take advantage of an Irish city all at the same time.

Work Permits

For those of you who are not students or recent graduates, the road to living and working in Ireland is a bit harder, but it can be done. The first and easiest way to come to Ireland is if you have Irish parents or grandparents; if so, you can obtain forms to claim Irish citizenship and gain an Irish passport, but first you will have to provide the birth certificate of your Irish relative. If you're a third generation Irish-American, though, you're out of luck and will have to go the work permit route. With the expansion of the E.U. it's become harder for citizens of non-E.U. states to gain work permits in Ireland. It's not impossible though, and I've found that has some good straightforward info on work permits and government rules. There are two types of permits; the first and easier one to obtain is called a Work Visa or Work Authorisation. This is reserved for skilled workers, such as IT professionals, architects, construction engineers, doctors, or nurses; for the full list of professions or application procedures you can check out the government websites listed below. If you are lucky enough to qualify in one of these professions, the process will be speedier than the standard process and you will be more likely to obtain a permit.

For all others, however, you must apply for the standard work permit, or rather, you must have an employer apply for you. You must first find an employer who is willing to sponsor you. They must then file the paperwork, pay a fee, and advertise the job vacancy for about 4 weeks to prove that no Irish citizen or E.U. national could be found to fill the vacancy. Only then will you be considered for the permit. The first step is to research Irish companies that might be looking for the skills you have and contact them. You are even allowed to come over to Ireland on the 90-day visitor's visa and search for jobs, but you can't work until the permit is obtained and you may have to return to your home country and come back again before starting work. Searching might be a good idea as well. This is where employers advertise the vacancies they have and will often specify if they are willing to take on a non-E.U. national. If you need to gain employment for the work permit, you can skip directly to step 3 in this series for more detailed info on an Irish job search.

Take that first step!

There are a number of ways to come live, work, and study here in this vibrant country. All it takes is a bit of research and persistence; these websites can hopefully kick-start your search, but you should also e-mail or telephone these programs, universities, or employers to get the more personalised and detailed information you'll need. This first step in coming to Ireland is probably the hardest of all, but once you're past it, you can begin to look forward to the rich Irish scenery, the lively traditional pubs, and your own unique Irish experience.

Study abroad


Student Work Visas

Claiming Irish Citizenship

Irish Work Permits

General info


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