IRELAND – Update on Eligibility for Stamp 4 Permission Upgrade

April 15, 2024

By: Jane Pilkington, Aine Hartigan, and Joao Lucas Pires.

A Stamp 4 immigration permission allows a non-EEA national to work in Ireland without an Employment Permit, to work in a profession (subject to any regulatory requirements), to establish and operate a business; and to access state funds and services, as determined by Government departments and agencies. As such, it’s similar to the concept of “permanent residence” in other jurisdictions, albeit it does need to be renewed.

The Irish Department of Justice (the “Department”) has been reviewing the position on an applicant’s eligibility to apply for a Stamp 4 immigration permission “upgrade”, since its initial announcement on this issue on November 15, 2023.

Arising from this review, the Department issued a policy update on April 3, 2024, to the effect that non-EEA nationals who have been employed in Ireland on a Critical Skills Employment Permit (“CSEP”) can now apply for a Stamp 4 immigration permission “upgrade” within 21 months from the date that they first commenced employment on their CSEP. This, in effect, reverses the position, as announced in November 2023, whereby CSEP holders were only eligible to apply for their Stamp 4 immigration permission “upgrade” within 21 months of the date that they first registered for their IRP Card (Stamp 1).

This change in policy is excellent news for employers and employees alike. Employees are now less likely to require a second CSEP as a ‘bridging permission’ to allow them to accrue the mandatory 21 months, which had amounted to an additional cost and administrative burden. It has also removed uncertainty where the November 2023 policy was being applied inconsistently county-by-county, thereby causing confusion and ambiguity for applicants and their employers.

Other key takeaways from the Department’s update include:

  • General Employment Permit holders who have completed 57 months employment in Ireland will also be eligible to apply for a Stamp 4 immigration permission “upgrade”.
  • Employees residing in Ireland on a Stamp 1 or Stamp 1H on foot of a Hosting Agreement as a Researcher or a Multi-Site General Employment Permit as a Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor will also be eligible for a Stamp 4 immigration permission “upgrade” upon completion of 21 months from commencement of employment in Ireland.

In all instances, commencement of employment in Ireland will be determined by the detail contained in an applicant’s “Employment Detail Summary” Revenue Commissioners document.

For any questions on this update or on any Irish immigration matters, please feel to contact Jane Pilkington or Aine Hartigan in our Dublin office.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.