The Internship Employment Permit replaces the old Internship class of Work Permit Employment Permit.
Internship Employment Permits are designed to facilitate the employment in the State of foreign nationals who are full-time students, enrolled in a third level institution outside the State, for the purpose of gaining work experience.
Either the foreign national or the employer can apply for an Internship Employment Permit and the Employment Permit is issued to the foreign national, and a certified copy sent to the employer, which permits his or her employment in the State by the employer in the occupation and location/s specified on the permit.
Internship Employment Permits can only issue for a maximum period of 12 months and are non-renewable.
In accordance with Section 12(1)(e) of the Employment Permits Act 2006 as amended, a new Employment Permit (for a different employer) cannot be considered if fewer than 12 months have elapsed since the permit holder first commenced employment in the State pursuant to an Employment Permit. However, the Department will permit an Internship Employment Permit holder to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit or General Employment during that 12-month period.
Criteria for eligibility
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment examine a number of criteria when assessing Employment Permit applications:
- Remuneration must be National Minimum Wage or higher.
- The internship must be in respect of one of the employments on the Critical Skills Occupations List.
- The course of study must be wholly or substantially concerned with the skills shortages identified on the Critical Skills Occupations List.
- It must be a requirement for the completion of that course of study, to obtain experience in the practice of those skills or qualifications, in an employment that requires the practice of those skills or qualifications.
- At the end of the internship the employee must leave the State and it is expected that they will return to the third level institution to complete the course of study.
Dependants/partners/spouses of Internship Employment Permit holders cannot apply for a Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit; they must apply for a separate Employment Permit in their own right.
The normal criteria for employers apply, which seek to ensure that the employer is a genuine and legal employer, so as to give a level of reassurance that the employment rights of employees will be adhered to. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment examines a number of criteria when assessing employers including:
- Applications will only be accepted from employers that are registered with the Revenue Commissioners and, if applicable, with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies, and which are currently trading in the State.
- That an employer – employee relationship will exist in that the prospective employee concerned will be employed, salaried and paid directly by the employer.
- An Employment Permit will not issue unless at the time of application 50% or more of the employees in a firm are EEA nationals.
- A Labour Market Needs Test is not required for an Internship Employment Permit.
Applications will only be accepted in respect of foreign nationals who:
- Are full-time students, including post-graduate students, enrolled in a third-level institution outside the State,
- Are pursuing a Degree course or higher, and
- Have an offer of an internship with an employer in the State.
The application process
An application for any employment permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date.
An application can be made online on the Employment Permits Online System. There is a User Guide (PDF document) available on the online system which guides the applicant through the process and details the documentary requirements for each employment permit type.
There are up to three stages in the passage of an employment permit application:
- Application received (awaiting processing): Once an application is submitted and the associated fees, if appropriate, are recorded the application is then placed in the relevant processing queue depending on the Employer type, that is, Trusted Partner or Standard. Please note that applications are processed strictly in date order by Employer Type and applicants can keep track of our current processing dates. They can also check the progress of their specific application online on our Online Status Update Enquiry facility.
- Processing stage: This stage is where the application is considered by a decision maker, an official with decision making authority. The processor may request additional information, if required, which should be returned within 28 days. The processor will then either grant an application or refuse it for specific reasons.
- Review: Where an applicant wishes a refusal decision to be reviewed then he/she may do so within 28 days on the prescribed Submission of a Decision for Review Form. The review will be considered by a separate and more senior official. The confirmation of a refusal decision on review does not preclude the applicant from submitting a new application following all of the relevant procedures for the specific employment permit type.
The processing fee for an Internship Employment Permit is:
- €500 for an Employment Permit of 6 months or less duration or
- €1,000 for an Employment Permit from 6 months up to 12 months duration.
Detailed information on fee requirements and certain waivers can be found on our Fees for Employment Permits page.
If an application is unsuccessful 90% of the fee will be refunded. While the fee may be paid by a third party, current policy restricts refunds to applicants only (for example, if the applicant was an employee and the employer paid the fee, then the refund will still issue to the employee).
Where the employer is the applicant, in accordance with Section 23 of the Employment Permits Act 2006, the employer, or an agent acting on their behalf, may not make any deductions from the remuneration of, or seek to recover from, the holder of the employment permit concerned any charge, fee or expense related to the application.
Following a successful application for an Employment Permit and if visa required, an applicant should apply to his/her local Irish Embassy/Consulate for an entry visa. An online visa application form may be found at inis.gov.ie. Contact details for Irish Embassies/Consulates and a list of visa required countries may be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs website dfa.ie.
Any persons wishing to enter the State, whether visa required or not, are subject to the usual immigration controls at the port of entry. Therefore, all relevant and supporting documentation, including the original Employment Permit must be available for inspection by an Immigration Officer. Entry to the State is always at the discretion of the Immigration Officer.
An Employment Permit is not a Residence Permission. In order to be lawfully resident in the State, it is a requirement that all non-EEA nationals in possession of an Employment Permit must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. It is in the best interest of the persons concerned to register as soon as possible following arrival.
Holders of Internship Employment Permits do not accrue rights for long term residency purposes as the Employment Permit is available on the basis that the employment is temporary.
Transfer of Undertakings
The holders of Internship Employment Permits can change employers where a transfer of employment has taken place under the European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003 (SI No 131 of 2003).
Where, pursuant to a transfer of undertaking, there is a change in the name of the employer, the employer (whose name is on the existing Internship Employment Permit) must complete and send in to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment the prescribed Transfer of Undertaking form. This form can now be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where the change of name is pursuant to a transfer of undertaking, and it is confirmed that the terms, conditions, description and location/s of employment as specified on the existing Employment Permit remain the same, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will issue a new permit to the permit holder/s and certified copy/ies to the new employer.
Cancellation of Employment Permits
In accordance with Section 24(1) of the Employment Permits Act 2006 should a non-EEA national, for whatever reason, cease to be employed by the employer during the period of the Internship Employment Permit’s validity the permit and the employer’s certified copy must be returned to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment within 4 weeks from the date of termination or cessation. An employer or an employee who fails to comply with this subsection is guilty of an offence. All such permits which are returned to the Employment Permit Section in line with this will be changed to a Cancelled status on the Employment Permits Management System and these permits will no longer be valid.