Employment Law Update: Key Elements of Irish Employment Permits Legislation

25 November 2014

The Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014 (the "Act") and related regulations brought about a number of changes to the employment permit landscape.  We outline some of the key elements of the Act.

  • The rule known as the “50:50 Rule” requires employers, who wish to hire non-EEA nationals on an employment permit, to show that at least 50% of their employees are EEA nationals. The 50:50 Rule applies to all employment permit applications, whether made by an employer or an employee. The only exception to this is in the case of start-up companies with enterprise agency support that are applying for certain types of employment permits or in limited circumstances, where the Irish entity has no employees and the applicant will be the sole employee.  
  • The Labour Market Needs Test applies to applications made by an employer or an employee, although the test is only relevant in the context of applications for General Employment Permits or Contract Service Provider Permits. This test aims to ensure that an offer of employment is made to individuals already in the EEA labour markets before an application is made for an employment permit to employ a non-EEA national. 


  • The Act allows a non-EEA national, who has been employed illegally without an employment permit, to take civil action against their employer to recoup unpaid wages as long as they can show that they took all steps reasonably open to them to comply with the legislation.
  • LinkedIn