Immigration is one of the primary concerns for any contractor hoping to start working in Ireland. Permanent employees will find it easy to get their Irish work permit because they’ll receive “sponsorship” for their entire stay from their prospective employer.
In Ireland, there are 9 different employment permits of which the General Employment Permit and Critical Skills Employment Permit are the most relevant to an independent contractor. The General Employment Permit is available for occupations with an annual remuneration of 30,000 EUR or more and a labour market means test is usually required. The Critical Skills Employment Permit is available for most occupations with annual remuneration of over 60,000 EUR and no labour market means test is required.
These Irish work permits are dependent on the sponsorship from the prospective employer because it confirms that you’ll be earning money during your stay in the country. Contracting in Ireland is more difficult because the work permit is tied to one employer, so you have to change it to suit each new contract. Thankfully, umbrella companies provide a convenient and effective solution to this issue.
As your permanent employer, umbrella companies are able to sponsor you for your employment permit provided they’re on the register of approved sponsors. Many different companies offer this service, because it makes contracting in Ireland infinitely simpler and saves you the hassle of continuous paperwork. Instead of changing your work permit every time you get a new contract, you can just work how you ordinarily would under the same permit. They protect you from the bureaucratic “rain” of legal compliance with the Irish immigration authorities. They can even deal with the Irish Embassy directly.
Through their service you may be able to use a business visa to get started quickly and then transition to a work visa in Ireland. It depends on your specific visa requirements. Be aware you may have to register for a residence permit in Ireland.