Work in Ireland: A Quick Guide to Relocating

Work in Ireland, Dublin at night

Nestled away in the top corner of Europe, just off the coast of England and Wales, it can sometimes be easy to forget exactly what Ireland has given the world. From the iconic black smoothness of Guinness beer to the wit and wisdom of the likes of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, the Emerald Isle boasts an enduring culture and history that few can rival.

Yet in more recent times, Ireland has managed to balance these nods to its past while reinventing itself as a modern tech hub. Dublin in the east of the country is a European mecca of multinational corporations and conglomerates, while the rugged coastline of the west retains the charm and beauty of the Irish identity.

Luckily, these progressive steps towards building a forward-thinking economy means that there is a wealth of jobs available in Ireland, not just to the locals but for those looking to work abroad as well; in fact, if you possess the right skills and experience, then even as a foreigner it’s highly likely that there will be a role to suit.

To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a quick and handy relocation guide, so if you’re thinking of setting up digs in the country responsible for the likes of Bram Stoker, Peter O’Toole and, er, Bono, then read on; this is what you need to know…

General Information

Although primarily a rural nation (the capital Dublin accounts for roughly a quarter of the country’s 4.8 million inhabitants, for instance), Ireland boasts a largely stable economy. In 2017, its gross domestic output (GDP) totalled around $325 billion, ranking it 11th out of the European Union’s 28 member states. Unemployment rates also sit at an EU average of just over 6.1%, as does the youth unemployment rate of 13.8%.

Foreign immigrants account for around 11% of the population, with Polish expats accounting for the bulk of this number. Meanwhile, there are just over 100,000 UK nationals currently based in Ireland.

Biggest Sectors

Ireland has undergone a perception transformation in recent years, moving from a primarily agriculture-focused economy to something of a technological powerhouse. Through a combination of more skilled graduates entering the workforce, and a series of generous tax concessions for large multinationals such as Facebook and Apple, the subsequent establishment of a thriving tech and IT industry has seen jobs in Dublin – and in Ireland, in general – flourish.

Key industries include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Financial services
  • Aviation (aircraft leasing)
  • Information and communications technology
  • Software development
  • Engineering (particularly automotive, renewable, industrial and biomedical)

In addition, several high-profile global businesses were founded in Ireland and retain their headquarters there, while a number of large multinational organisations have also decided to relocate and base their operations there in recent years. Some of these include:

  • Guinness (beverages) – Founded and produced in Dublin, although its parent company is headquartered in the UK
  • Ryanair (aviation) – Founded and headquartered in Dublin
  • Paddy Power (bookmaker) – Founded and headquartered in Dublin
  • O’Briens (food retailer) – Founded and headquartered in Dublin
  • Accenture (management consultancy) – Originally founded in the US and subsequently listed on the NYSE, the global professional services firm moved its headquarters to Dublin in 2009
  • Johnson Controls (HVAC equipment manufacturing) – Originally founded in the US, multinational conglomerate Johnson merged with security providers Tyco in 2016 and subsequently established new headquarters in Cork


Although average salaries inevitably vary between industries, PayScale estimates that the mean annual take-home in the capital Dublin is around €36,599 (£31,650/$45,100) – around €3,000 a year more than the next largest city, Cork.

Indeed, following the global economic crises between 2008 and 2013, wages in general are rising again, with the country’s economy now subsequently being termed a ‘Celtic Phoenix’ in reference to its ‘Celtic Tiger’ pre-2008 boom years.

Cost of Living

In line with its re-burgeoning economy, the cost of living is on the rise, too. A decent one-bedroom apartment in the centre of Dublin would set you back around €1,500 (£1,300/$1,850) per month on average, dropping to around €1,200 (£1,040/$1,480) in the city’s outskirts. As with most countries, rents generally tend to drop significantly in the smaller cities and towns.

Ireland also hosts a highly efficient public transport system across rail, road and tram, with the four major cities of Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork (as well as Belfast to the north) all well connected; a monthly transport pass costs around €115 (£100/$140), with the average price of petrol/gasoline currently set at around €1.35 (£1.17/$1.66) per litre.

Working Conditions

As with all EU member states, the maximum working hours allowed per week is capped at 48; in reality, though, most businesses operate a 40-hour working week spread across Monday to Friday. As a predominantly Catholic country, Ireland observes a number of religious events – as a result, there are nine public holidays in total throughout the year.

Legislature dictates that employers must provide a minimum of 20 days of paid leave (although many offer more), whereas maternity/paternity and other types of leave are granted in line with EU employment law.

Finding a Job

Although Irish is the main official language of the country, English is fluently spoken by almost everybody; this means your attempts to find a job shouldn’t be hindered by an inability to pick up the native lingo. Other than that, the job search process is much the same as in most western countries: do your research, ensure your CV is a healthy condition and prepare thoroughly for any interviews that come your way. You can consider the base Europass CV template if stuck.  

Alternatively, if you work for a multinational that has offices in Ireland, keep an eye out for secondment opportunities or internal vacancies. It’s also wise to utilise your existing network of contacts, as well as keep an eye on LinkedIn for any suitable positions that may arise.

Highly Skilled Occupations

Like many countries, the Irish government maintains a constantly changing database of critically in-demand professions, known as the Highly Skilled Occupations List. Typically, these roles pay at least €60,000 (£51,950/$74,000) per year and are usually within the healthcare, engineering and IT industries. Make sure you check this list, as it will likely be far easier to secure a job if your skills are already sought after.


Visas and Work Permits

If you are a citizen of an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) member state, you won’t require a visa or a work permit to live and work in Ireland. For non-EU/EEA citizens, however, there are nine types of employment permit overall.

The criteria for attaining the most popular – the General Employment Permit – dictates that applicants must be receiving a salary of at least €30,000 (£26,000/$37,000) per year from a company that is based and registered in Ireland, as well as satisfying the qualification and specification requirements of the job itself.

Once approved, the permit lasts for two years and can be renewed for another three, at which point you would no longer require any kind of visa to legally live and work in Ireland.

As you can see, making the move to a country on an undoubtedly upward curve could prove to be a shrewd decision, not just for your career but for your lifestyle, too. Major businesses are already investing heavily in Ireland, and with the uncertainty of Brexit, Dublin is an increasingly attractive alternative for multinational enterprises looking to maintain a physical presence in the EU. With jobs aplenty and salaries to match, the good times are definitely coming back to Ireland – and now is as good a time as ever to make sure you don’t miss out.

Any questions about working life in the Emerald Isle? Let us know in the comments below!


Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by on 16 April 2018.