Ireland

Ireland is the original home of the world's largest Western emigrant population. The country has a legendary status with Irish expatriates, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

Ireland's economy has improved drastically since entry into the European Union, but unemployment is still a nagging issue in some areas. The growth of the economy has created a snowball effect, as Ireland seeks skilled workers to boost economic activity and create jobs.

Ireland is culturally unique in that it welcomes the artistic sector as a part of its job market, and is a promoter of its culture across the Western world.

Visas

Ireland has recently adopted a new computerized visa system, AVATS, which includes an online visa application format, now being introduced, and available to some countries already.

Fortunately Ireland is much better organized than some countries and provides a lot of useful information about its processes and requirements online.

There's a large number of countries whose citizens do not require a visa to visit Ireland, listed on the Irish Foreign Ministry web page, in Schedule One. Citizens of countries listed in Schedule Two do require visas.

Work permits

Non EU nationals (except Switzerland) do however require work permits, even if not required to have visas. Those wishing to set up a business will also require authorization.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment website provides full details, online applications, and exemptions information for foreign workers.

The Irish authorities advise that they may require additional documentation for applications. It's strongly suggested that people contact these authorities for assistance if they're not sure what's needed.

You can contact both Foreign Affairs and DETE online. Contact links are shown at the top of their web pages.

Job search

Also fortunately, Ireland has a lot of homegrown websites for job hunting. This is a bit easier than the usual foreign job search scenario, and the local sites aren't the gigantic things which make job search such a job in itself.

Jobs.ie.com is a well maintained site with a surprising number of current jobs on it.

Best Jobs Ireland is another useful site. Although you may find older-looking jobs on it, these are apparently still current, because the other jobs are all new.

Most of the Irish sites also have a CV creator and online posting, which is free, and a good way of being ready to apply online. It's worth the extra few minutes to get your CV organized.

Another very useful point about job search in Ireland is that a lot of international corporations have branches in the country. Ireland has been attracting a lot more corporate presence in recent years, and inter-organization jobs are worth checking out.

The big international employment agencies are also useful. Companies like Manpower also have a presence in Ireland, and their agencies can help.

Overall, job search in Ireland, compared to large countries, is like doing local searches, but the opportunities are definitely there. The new Ireland is a modern nation with an advanced economy, and there are possible good career moves to be made.

Some patience is required, because it's a smaller job market. Always check regarding seasonal work, too, because the tourist trade is very big, and is a potentially good employer, because it's a big industry and a seasonal job could become a chance at permanent work.

Job hunters are very strongly advised to know as much as they can about Ireland to make a successful move. It's a different culture, quite unlike the rest of Europe, with a very strong national identity, which should be respected.

Job applications

Ireland uses the CV, and the international standard applies. However, check with the employer or employment agency regarding specific job requirements. This is only common sense, but can make the difference between getting a job or not. Information quality is very important.

You may also need to check accreditation for qualifications.

Generally speaking employers can decide what qualifications are acceptable to them. For most Western countries fundamental education qualifications are considered to match Irish equivalents.

EU standards apply for trade and industry qualifications, but for those outside the EU, it's better not to guess.

The best website for information is the Department of Education and Science Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications page

You may need to check out qualifications requirements for your industry, however, in some cases.

Contact the Department of Education and Science prior to making a job application, as well as contacting prospective employers regarding your qualifications.

You can waste colossal amounts of your own time just by lacking basic information like this. For the price of an email you can get everything you need.

Note: This is not necessarily a simple procedure. You may be required to register with a professional or trade association to work in Ireland. To register successfully, your qualifications will need to be assessed.

Retraining and formal examinations for qualification are required for some people. This additional qualification must be paid for by applicants.

Some professions, like teaching, also have government guidelines regarding employment.

This can be very much a case of Do Your Homework First, so be careful.

Language requirements

The native language in Ireland is Gaelic, which is in common usage, including officially. However, the entire country speaks English, so it's not likely to be a problem with most jobs. English skills, however, for those with non-English speaking backgrounds, will need to be good enough for work purposes and be able to deal with the Irish accent. (Easy enough after a decent meal in an Irish pub, but the pronunciation is a bit different.)

Living and working in Ireland

Wages and holidays

Wages in Ireland are about media, or slightly above, EU average. Dublin is a bit ahead of other places in Ireland for median wage rates. Wages can vary significantly depending on industry. The workplace is also unionized, with non-executive wages negotiated by collective bargaining. Annual increases are managed by national wage agreements.

The legally allowed maximum working week is set at 48 hours over a four month average. This allows for variations, but also reflects seasonal work.

Standard working hours are 9AM to 5:30PM, although this obviously varies with the job, shifts, and any contract arrangements, etc.

Both holidays and wages are based on a sliding scale of weeks per years of service.

Citizens Information Ireland sets out the basic annual leave entitlements established by law, and notes that employers may increase these rights by contract. (This includes provisions for sick leave.)

Culture

The Irish culture has been reinforced, if anything, by the huge stresses of the last century or so. Despite modern culture, Ireland has somehow retained a village-style culture in the midst of a growing modern nation. The local pub remains a cultural meeting place, with music, sometimes from internationally famous musicians, and the fundamentally Irish traditions are alive and well.

One thing the Irish can live without is references to Irish stereotypes. Like many other cultures, they don't need foreigners telling them about their cultural identity. Leprechauns, and other clichés, are best left unmentioned.

The real modern culture is largely artistic, and you may find yourself talking to experts on Irish culture, which is a popular study in Ireland as people try to find their ancient families and local history.

Ireland can be a particularly rewarding place to live and work for those with an affinity for the place. For those really interested, particularly those with an Irish background, it simply does not get dull.