Temporary Changes to Ireland's Visa & Employment Permit Requirements

The Department of Justice has recently announced new temporary measures as part of the Government's efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The new measures include an announcement that the Department is to impose new Visa requirements on passport holders from a number of countries in South America and South Africa and that it is also to temporarily cease accepting new Visa / preclearance applications from all relevant countries except certain priority/emergency situations listed.

Certain Priority / Emergency cases will continue to be processed and these include the following:
• Workers or self-employed persons exercising critical occupations including healthcare workers, frontier and posted workers as well as seasonal workers as referred to in the Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak;
• transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;
• patients travelling for imperative medical reasons;
• pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study;
• persons travelling for imperative family or business reasons;
• diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, military personnel and police officers, and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;
• passengers in transit;
• seafarers;
• journalists, when performing their duties.

The Department intends to resume accepting applications as soon as safety concerns abate. Full details on a the above can be found on the Department of Justice website at the following link - http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/visas-updates

There may be mandatory quarantine periods for individuals travelling to Ireland from other countries, please check the latest advice (at bottom of page) for further information. These new temporary arrangements will affect some employment permit holders or applications. Employment Permit applications from a visa required country.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is continuing to process applications for employment permits. However, given the new temporary visa arrangements, it may not be possible for individuals from visa required countries to travel to the State at this time unless the individual qualifies as one of the priority/emergency situations as listed above. As such, a new process is being implemented whereby all employment permit applicants (employers and employees) for passport holders from visa required countries will be contacted and asked if they would like to:
• Proceed with the application as it is considered that the role is on the priority/emergency list.
• Hold application in the employment permit processing queue for processing at a later date, when the temporary Visa arrangements have been rescinded.
• Withdraw the application with a full refund provided.

Employment Permit applications for non-visa required countries will continue to be processed. The advice from the Department of Justice is that everyone, regardless of their nationality or visa/preclearance status, or where they started from, who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland, should not travel to Ireland. We are advised that people traveling to Ireland will be asked about the nature of their journey, when they arrive in the State.

The latest Government advice on travelling to Ireland during COVID-19 is available here - https://www.gov.ie/.../camp.../75d92-covid-19-travel-advice/
For the latest public health advice regarding COVID-19 please click on the following link - https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/

Employment Permits Section
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment 
3rd February 2021