Working in Ireland

Ireland offers good opportunities for skilled graduates in areas ranging from IT to pharmaceuticals and food and drink.
There is intense competition from other graduates, so try to give yourself an advantage by getting relevant work experience or further qualifications.

The job market | Applying for jobs | Vacancy sources | Getting work experience | Visa information | Living in Ireland

The job market

What are your chances of getting a job?

Ireland has been recovering from a prolonged recession and has seen recent economic growth. This growth has been accompanied by lower rates of unemployment. There is intense competition from other graduates, so try to give yourself an advantage by getting relevant work experience or further qualifications.

Irish (Gaeilge) and English are the official languages of Ireland. You'll need to be fluent in English to get work, although a knowledge of Gaeilge may be helpful for some jobs.

Where can you work?

  • Major industries: pharmaceuticals and chemicals, food and drink including brewing, medical devices, computer software and hardware, and digital media.  
  • Shortage occupations: there are skills shortages in a range of areas, including ICT (software developers, data analysts and testers, technical support and infrastructure), science (such as microbiology and analytical chemistry), engineering, business and finance (particularly risk, compliance, accountancy and business intelligence), health (doctors, nurses and radiographers, as well as niche area specialists), construction (surveyors and project managers), clerical and administrative work (particularly for those with language skills), sales and skilled trades (for example, chefs).
  • Major companies: Allergan (pharmaceutical), CRH (construction), Dell Ireland (technology), Eaton (manufacturing), Facebook, Google, Ingersoll Rand (construction), Medtronic (pharmaceuticals), Microsoft, Oracle (business technology). See The Irish Times Top 100 companies.

What’s it like working in Ireland?

  • Average working hours: the average Irish working week is 39 hours and the maximum working week is 48 hours. Working hours are governed by EU directives.
  • Holidays: you're entitled to a minimum of four weeks holiday and the nine public holidays every year.
  • Tax rates: all EU/EEA nationals living and working in Ireland pay tax in the same way as Irish nationals. The two bands for personal income tax are 20% and 40% depending on your salary. See Revenue – Irish Tax and Customs for more information. Don't forget to check your UK tax and National Insurance position with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to ensure you're not losing any UK pension rights.

Applying for jobs

You don't need to be in Ireland to apply for jobs or secure a job before you go. The main methods for applying for jobs are the same as in the UK – a CV and covering letter or an application form, which may be online.

Your CV can follow the same format as the one you use in the UK. Include information on your language skills, particularly if English isn’t your first language or if you can speak other languages.

Make sure your covering letter or application form includes information on why you'd like to live and work in Ireland.

Interviews also follow the same format as those in the UK. You may have a first interview by phone, which can be used as an initial screening. A second interview may include an assessment centre, where you will complete a range of tasks and exercises, as well as having an interview. Interviews can be either one-to-one or a panel of several people. See Gradireland for further information.

Get more applications and CV advice.

Will your UK qualifications be recognised?

Following the Bologna Process and the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), UK qualifications are usually recognised by an employer. You should note though that some professions may demand different credentials and qualifications to those required in the UK.

Vacancy sources

Job websites

Recruitment agencies

  • The National Recruitment Federation, a voluntary organisation that maintains standards and codes of practice for the recruitment industry in Ireland, has an agency directory, listing all its members.
  • You can also search the Irish Golden Pages for a list of recruitment agencies.


Other sources

Information on graduate and internship positions and careers fairs is available on Gradireland.

You may be able to get work through targeted speculative applications. Make sure you research the company thoroughly and be clear on what skills or experience you can offer them.

Getting work experience


Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020 and covers student exchange, work experience and volunteering opportunities. Both under and postgraduate students can study abroad for 3 to 12 months. Erasmus+ also provides opportunities for work experience for students to learn new skills or languages, as well as volunteering in different countries for between 2 weeks and 12 months.

Work placements and internships

Teaching schemes

It may be possible to work as a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL) in Ireland. For example, MEI (Marketing English in Ireland), an association of English language schools in Ireland, employs TEFL teachers at their member schools. Search their website for a list of schools by location.

Casual work

Casual work is often seasonal and related to the tourism industry. You can approach employers directly or use employment agencies or local newspapers. You’re more likely to find temporary work in towns and cities.

Gap year and volunteering opportunities

  • There are many volunteering opportunities available in Ireland through Volunteer Ireland. They have local volunteer centres as well as a database of opportunities.
  • There are opportunities to take on casual work and/or internships as part of a gap year to Ireland. Make sure you research your options and plan carefully.

Visa information

Do you need a visa?

If you’re a UK citizen, you are entitled to live and work in Ireland without any conditions or restrictions.

If you’re an EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss national, you have the right to stay in Ireland for up to three months without restrictions. If you plan to stay for longer, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • be employed or self-employed
  • have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to cover your stay
  • be enrolled as a student/vocational trainee
  • be a family member of an EU citizen in one of the above categories.

If you are a non-EEA member, contact the Irish embassy in the country where you are currently living about how to obtain visas and work permits. If you are living in the UK, go to the Embassy of Ireland.

How do you become a permanent resident?

EU citizens (and citizens of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) are able to apply for permanent residency in Ireland after living there for an uninterrupted period of five years.

Non-EU citizens may be eligible to apply for a five-year residency extension (long-term residency) after a minimum of five years’ legal residence.

See the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration website for more information on visas, work permits and immigration.

Living in Ireland

  • Cost of living: the cost of living is high, particularly in Dublin, but varies between towns and cities. The cost of accommodation can be a major expense.
  • Internet domain: .ie
  • Currency: euro
  • Health: healthcare is divided into public and private services, with the Health Service Executive (HSE) having responsibility for providing public and community health services. There are three types of hospitals: HSE, voluntary and private. If you’re an EE/EEA or Swiss national, you’re entitled to free treatment in public beds in HSE and voluntary hospitals if you become ill or have an accident. You should also get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before going to Ireland to make it easier to access medical care. (Due to a reciprocal agreement, UK residents don’t need an EHIC). Also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See the HSE for details.
  • Type of government: parliamentary democracy
  • Laws and customs: it’s illegal to smoke in an enclosed place of work, including pubs and restaurants, shops, offices and public transport. Holding and using a mobile phone while driving is banned. Possession of even small quantities of drugs can lead to a long prison sentence.
  • Emergency numbers: call 999 or 112 (single European emergency telephone number, available everywhere in the EU free of charge) in the case of an emergency. British citizens can get help in an emergency from the British Embassy Ireland.
  • People: Irish 84.5%, other white 9.8%, Asian 1.9%, black 1.4%, mixed and other 0.9%
  • Major religion: Christianity


Our information and advice on job hunting, further study and visas remains current following the UK’s formal triggering of Article 50, and will be updated in the light of developments from the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union.

AGCAS editors, September 2017