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Ireland Critical Skills Employment Permit

The Critical Skills Employment Permit allows South African citizens with particular highly valued skill sets to come and work in Ireland. It offers a path for applicants to have their family join them and to gain permanent residence in Ireland as an incentive for bringing their particular skills to the State.

If you are planning to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit or want to know if the job you have been offered qualifies, you can call us at +353 061 518 025 to receive immediate guidance. Our Irish immigration specialists will be happy to help you understand what it takes to qualify for this permit and support you throughout your application. Alternatively, you can make an enquiry online.

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    The Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) is one of the 9 available work permits available to South African Citizens. The purpose of this permit and the reason for its specific restrictions towards eligible jobs stems from an effort to encourage highly skilled workers from around the world to bring their skills to Ireland and fill positions which are deemed under-serviced and highly valuable for the Irish economy. As such, the CSEP strives to make this offer appealing and allows eligible candidates to apply for bringing their family into the State free of charge.

    Professions that may be eligible for this permit can be found on the Critical Skills Occupations List, though other jobs might still qualify if they can meet the annual income requirements.

    Examples of professions on the Critical Skills Occupations List include but are not limited to:

    • Product Managers/Directors
    • ICT Professionals (all)
    • Health/Social Services Managers/Directors
    • Natural/Social Science Professionals
    • Medical Laboratory Scientists
    • Scientists in Manufacturing (biological/physical)
    • Civil Engineers/ Structural Engineers/Site Engineers/Mechanical Engineers/Electrical Engineers
    • Nursing and Midwifery Professionals
    • Therapists/Psychologists
    • Teaching and Educational Professionals
    • Social Workers
    • IT Programme Managers/ Business Analysts/Architects/System Designers
    • Programmers/ Software Designers/ Web Designers and Developers
    • Actuaries/Economists/Statisticians (big data analytics with IT skills)
    • Architects/Town Planners/Surveyors
    • Media Professionals / Artistic, Literary, and Media occupations/Designers and Animators (2D/3D)
    • Marketing Experts
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    Benefits of the Critical Skills Employment Permit

    The Critical Skills Employment Permit offers an attractive immigration path for South African nationals who have the appropriate skill set and are looking to live in Ireland. Benefits of obtaining status under this employment permission include:

    • No need for a Labour Market Needs Test, as eligible jobs are already deemed high value to the Irish economy
    • A faster way to become eligible for permanent residence in Ireland
    • Option to apply for immediate family reunification

    Restrictions for Critical Skills Employment Permit

    Your Critical Skills Employment Permission is limited to the job it was issued for. If you quit, get fired, or are made redundant, your legal status in Ireland will be affected.

    You shouldn’t look for a different job while working in Ireland with a CSEP unless you have been given specific permission by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE).

    While your initial job offer must be for at least 2 years, it is expected that you stay with this employer for a minimum of 12 months. After that, you may make a move to change employers if needed. You will need to petition the DETE for a new permit, however. Trying to do so before the initial 12-month period has ended will not be accepted.

    Eligibility for Critical Skills Employment Permit


    To qualify for a Critical Skills Employment Permit you will need to have obtained an employment offer from a recognised Irish employer that qualifies under the Critical Skills Occupations List or is otherwise deemed compatible with the goals of supporting valuable skill occupations. This employer will need to be registered with the Revenue Commissioners and might also need to be registered with the Companies Registration Office or the Register of Friendly Societies.

    The Critical Skills Employment Permit is limited to certain employment opportunities that are classed as high-value skill occupations which need to be further supported in Ireland.

    You might qualify if your job offer meets any of the following criteria:

    • Your job fits the criteria of being considered a strategically important occupation as featured on the Critical Skills Occupations List. It must be at the same level or higher laid out in the list and pay an annual salary of €38,000 (as of January 2024; this figure is set to rise to €44,000 by January 2025). You will need to have a degree or higher qualification.
    • Your job is not featured on the Critical Skills Occupations List but is also mentioned on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits or deemed to conflict with public interest. It must pay a minimum annual salary of €64,000 and you will need to show proof that you have a degree or necessary experience to be employed in this position.
    • If you are a nurse or a midwife, you will need a third-level (higher education) degree or diploma which is recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and makes you eligible to register as a practising nurse or midwife in Ireland.

    Your job offer will need to grant you 2 years of secure employment to qualify under the Critical Skills Employment Permit requirements. Additionally, you should note that you must be directly employed and paid by your employer in Ireland. Applications based on work found through a recruitment agency or other go-between will not be considered.


    On top of having secured an eligible offer of employment, you will need to prove to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) that you possess the necessary qualifications, skills, and experience to be employed in the position you have been offered.

    You may need to show proof of:

    • Any degrees, certifications, or diplomas relevant to your position
    • Relevant experience or knowledge in your proposed field of work.

    Reach out to us for help with applying for the critical skills employment permit. Contact Us

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      Required Documents for Critical Skills Employment Permit

      You will need to provide evidence that the information you are giving during your application is correct and that you meet the required eligibility criteria.

      You will need to provide digital copies of the following documents:

      • The biometric page of your current and valid passport
      • A passport-sized photo
      • Letter of application that states your details and the purpose for your stay in Ireland
      • Proof that you have private medical health insurance, covering medical treatment including hospital stays
      • Proof of adequate qualifications, certifications, or other relevant experience
      • Your employment contract (signed)
      • Details about your employer, including contact details for a person in the company
      • Detailed description of your job offer
      • Intended start date of your employment
      • Annual salary (base salary only, excluding bonuses and overtime)
      • Details of any other financial resources or liabilities
      • Details of your relevant qualifications, skills or experience for your proposed employment
      • Any additional documents that support your specific application circumstances

      It is important that you check the specific circumstances of your application and include all of the documentation necessary. Failure to do so may lead to your application being delayed or rejected. You should never provide documents with false information, as you may be forbidden to apply for Irish immigration in the future.

      Remuneration Criteria for a Critical Skills Employment Permit

      To qualify for a Critical Skills Employment Permit, your proposed employment will need to meet strict minimum salary requirements depending on the type of work and worked hours. In general, you will need to earn a minimum annual salary of €38,000 (set to rise to €44,000 by January 2025).

      Some positions will need to earn a minimum annual salary of €64,000, which is based on 39 hours of work per week.

      What Is Considered Remuneration?

      When assessing whether you meet the necessary remuneration requirements, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will consider two main elements:

      • Your general salary, which must meet at least the National Minimum Wage requirements
      • Payments made to a health insurer, as long as this insurer is registered with the Health Insurance Authority and is compliant with the Health Insurance Act, 1994, or is deemed equivalent by the Minister

      You should note that your salary should include your basic pay, not your bonuses, shift allowances, or overtime.

      Evidence of Remuneration

      When proving that you meet the necessary income criteria, you will need to include the following:

      • Details of your total annual salary
      • Pay received on an hourly and weekly rate
      • Weekly hours of work
      • Information on any salary deductions and what they are for
      • Confirmation if deductions cover health insurance

      Additional Requirements for Your Prospective Employer

      While the Critical Skills Employment Permit waives the usually required Labour Market Needs Test, your employing company will still need to meet the 50:50 rule of employment. This means that at least 50% of employees at your prospective company must be EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals at the time of your application.

      Start-ups within their first two years of registration with the Revenue Commissioners might be eligible for a waiver of this restriction as long as they are supported by Enterprise Ireland or the Industrial Development Agency Ireland (IDA Ireland).

      Fees for Critical Skills Employment Permit

      You will need to pay a processing fee of €1,000 for your Critical Skills Employment Permit. If your application is not accepted, 90% of this fee will be refunded to you.

      This fee will be payable via a valid debit or credit card during your application online.

      Additionally, South African citizens will need to apply for a visa to stay in Ireland for longer than 90 days and to work. You will need to pay the appropriate fee. Depending on your needs that will be:

      • €60 for a single-entry visa
      • €100 for a multiple-entry visa.

      Our immigration lawyers can make the permit application process seamless and hassle-free. Contact us

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        Critical Skills Employment Permit Application Process


        When you have obtained all the necessary documentation, you will be able to start your application for a Critical Skills Employment Permit on the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) where you will be asked to provide information about yourself and the circumstances of your application, which will be used to determine your eligibility according to the aforementioned requirements.

        You will need to follow the application steps and make sure to provide complete and accurate information.

        After starting, you will be assigned a unique application identifier called ‘My Work-ID’ with which you will be able to return to your unfinished application for up to 28 days. You should make a note of this number. If you lose it, you will need to start a new application.

        Once you have finished your application form you will need to print the form and make sure that all the relevant signature pages are signed. You will then be able to attach these pages along with your accompanying documentation to your online application. Once you have completed the other application steps, you will need to pay the processing fee and submit your application.

        After You Have Applied

        You will receive an email confirming your application and giving you your unique application reference number. Should you need to contact the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment about your application, you will need to provide this number.

        Critical Skills Employment Permit applications are processed in order of receipt and the exact times may vary. In general, you should expect to wait at least 6 to 8 weeks. After submitting, you will receive an email updating you on the current stage of your application and expected processing time.

        Deadlines for Critical Skills Employment Permit

        You will need to submit your application a minimum of 12 weeks before you are supposed to start your employment.

        You will have 28 days to complete your application form once you have started.

        Visa Requirements

        You should note that while Ireland permits South African nationals to visit visa-free for up to 90 days, you will require a visa for this permit. You will need to take the appropriate steps to obtain this before entering into the State.

        How Can IAS Help?

        Understanding the eligibility criteria for the Critical Skills Work Permit can be overwhelming, but it is important that you know what to look for in a potential job when hoping to apply for this permit.

        Seeking advice from an experienced immigration specialist can take some stress out of your Ireland work permit application. You can call IAS today at +353 061 518 025 or contact us online, and we will be happy to support you, no matter what stage of your application you’re at.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  If the job you have been offered an interview for is recognised on the Critical Skills Occupations List, you may be eligible to apply for a Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation. However, you should note that South African nationals are generally permitted to visit Ireland visa-free for up to 90 days.

                  If you are made redundant while working in Ireland on a Critical Skills Employment Permit, you will have 4 weeks to notify the DETE. You will have a maximum of 6 months to seek new employment that meets the requirements and will be issued a new CSEP should you be successful.