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The Republic of Ireland is a popular expat destination for Americans looking to live and work in a country which offers a warm welcome and a range of activities for everyone. Whether your idea of fun is a bracing hike along the coast, an energetic folk gig or kicking back with a fireside pint of Guinness, Ireland has you covered.
Whatever is taking you to the Emerald Isle, you’ll need to do a bit of planning in advance. This guide covers all you need to get started, including how to find a job, get the right visa for your needs, open a bank account and choose a place to live.
Before you get started, a word.
Banks often charge hefty fees for foreign and multi-currency accounts. And if you’ve already tried managing multiple accounts in multiple countries, you know it’s rarely simple.
Wise could help. With Wise, it’s free to open a borderless multi-currency account with no monthly fees. There, you can manage and send dozens of different currencies all from the same account. All around the world. Likely, for a lot cheaper than your bank.
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Now, back to what you came here to read.
You’ll find a few options available when it comes to landing a new job in Ireland, including online routes which allow you to make a start before you actually arrive in the country. Once you’re in Ireland, you can take advantage of face to face support from private and government backed agencies and look for job adverts in newspapers and local businesses wherever you’re living.
Here are some ideas to get your job search started.
Online portal Jobs Ireland¹, and the Irish homepages of global recruitment pages such as Monster and Indeed are great places to start your job search — even before you arrive in Ireland. You’ll also find jobs boards dedicated to different sectors or specific locations, depending on where in Ireland you’re headed.
Visit your Intreo Centre when you arrive in Ireland. Intreo is a government service which helps people access job seeker’s information, support and if necessary, benefits. You’ll find local vacancies advertised here.
Try social media, including LinkedIn and Facebook groups which are dedicated to job hunters, and expats who have newly arrived in the country. Jobs — including those well suited to Americans in Ireland — are often published here.
Recruitment agencies connect job seekers with employers, and typically work with roles in different sectors or salary levels. Search online for the recruitment agencies most suited to your needs and get in touch directly.²
If you’re a US citizen, you usually won’t need a visa to enter Ireland, but you may need an employment permit if you intend to work while you’re there.
Either you or your employer can apply for an employment permit before you begin your job in Ireland. The application can be submitted online using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS).
There are 9 different types of employment permit, depending on the role you want to do and your personal circumstances. The most commonly used employment permit categories are set out below. In addition to these there are special permits available for people traveling to Ireland to complete an internship, on a company transfer, for a sports or cultural event or other similar reasons.³ ⁴ ⁵ ⁶
To be eligible to apply for a general employment permit, you must be coming to Ireland to do a job which pays €30,000 or more a year. You’ll need to demonstrate that you have the skills and experience needed for the job you’ve been offered, but once you have your permit, your rights will be the same as any Irish or EU employee working in Ireland.
This permit is offered to individuals paid an annual salary of €30,000 or more in a range of roles featured on the highly skilled occupations list, published by the Irish government. You may also get this permit if your role isn’t on the highly skilled list, but your salary is €60,000 or more.
If you’re in Ireland under a critical skills employment permit or as a researcher, your family members may be entitled to work if they apply for a dependant/partner/spouse employment permit.
This permit is used in limited circumstances, where an individual has previously held an employment permit in Ireland but lost it through no fault of their own. This employment permit can be issued to allow the holder to start working again in a new job.
The Irish are famously welcoming and warm, so you can expect to feel at home in Ireland pretty quickly. However, as with any international move, there are some things which might trip you up. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
As an American, you probably don’t need a visa to enter Ireland, but if you plan on staying for a while you might need to register your residence with the local Garda (police). The exact requirements will depend on your plans, so it’s a good idea to check out the rules around registration for non-EEA nationals, which are available online at the Irish citizens information website.⁷
English is the main spoken language in Ireland, but you’ll find yourself surrounded by Gaelic, on street signs, place names and in common phrases. As we noted above, the local police are the Garda, and the Gaelic term for the leader of Ireland is the Taoiseach (pronounced tee-shock), for example. Once you’ve learned to pronounce your coworkers’ names and a few stock phrases, you’ll be — as the Irish say — grand.
It’s a cliche, but the weather in Ireland can be somewhat damp. Depending on where you’re from originally, this might come as a surprise. Warm up with a good cup of Barry’s Irish Breakfast Tea, and enjoy the opportunity to stay warm and cozy indoors.
Opening a local bank account is a good way to make sure you can settle quickly into your new life in Ireland. Having a euro denominated account makes it easier to make and receive payments and is essential for setting up services like internet and a cell phone and getting your rental contract arranged.
You have a few choices if you want to open a bank account in Ireland. High street banks like Bank of Ireland and AIB have a number of account products which may suit expats in Ireland. In most cases, though, if you want a regular personal current account you’ll need to visit a branch in person to provide your proof of identity and address documents.⁸
Opening an account online may be more convenient. Some Irish banks, including Bank of Ireland, will allow online applications, but the range of accounts open to you may be limited. You may need to apply for a specific non-resident account — which might not suit your needs if you’re in the process of moving to Ireland for the long term. ⁹
A smart alternative, which can be a good fit for expats and travelers, is to get a Wise borderless account. A borderless account lets you hold money in dozens of different currencies — so you can keep your euros and dollars alongside each other in the same account and switch between them when you need to. You’ll also get your own bank account details for the euro area, so you can operate your account in the same way as a local would and receive euro payments fee free.
Currency conversion with Wise is always done using the mid-market rate — that’s the same as you’ll find on Google — and with no hidden costs. There’s just a transparent upfront fee to pay. All in all, this can work out up to 8x cheaper than using your regular bank for some transactions including international payments and currency conversion.
As you may expect, the price of accommodation and daily life can vary, depending on where in Ireland you choose to live. It’s a good idea to research this before you decide where to settle, using tools such as the Numbeo website. Numbeo takes live data from users all over the world, to create dynamic listings of costs. You can then compare different countries, areas and cities.
For example, at the time of research, a month’s rent in a one bedroom city centre apartment in Dublin will cost on average €1,860.33. However, the same home in Limerick is estimated to cost just €802.19, making Dublin’s rents over 130% more expensive. If you have some flexibility in where you will live in Ireland, it makes sense to look at the options for work, alongside the costs of living in a few different areas and cities in Ireland before you decide where you’ll call home.
Relocation costs can also vary depending on your priorities. Maybe you’re happy to head to Ireland with only a suitcase — or perhaps you plan to have all your belongings shipped or air freighted to join you there. You’ll be able to get estimates, information and quotations for removal costs from a site like Movehub, so you can weigh up your options. Getting the contents of a one bedroom apartment from the US to Ireland, as an example, is estimated to cost from around $6,200 by air or $1,550 if you’re willing to wait a little longer for sea freight.¹⁰
Ireland really has a lot to offer expats. You’re sure to find a place that fits, and provides that perfect balance. Where that is depends a little on what’s important to you.
Dublin, as the Irish capital, is one of the most popular places for expats to live and work. The city has plenty of opportunities when it comes to jobs, social and cultural activities. But of course like in any large city, the cost of living is typically higher here than elsewhere in the country. If you’re looking to balance city living with an opportunity for peace, several of the Dublin suburbs offer a quiet hideaway in easy reach of the commercial centre.
Apple’s European headquarters, employing over 5,000 people, is based in Cork. The city is also home to manufacturing hubs for several global pharmaceutical firms and a broad range of tech companies. Smaller than Dublin, Cork still punches above its weight in terms of career opportunities and has a buzzing cultural scene too. If you’re looking to work in Cork, but fancy a quieter place to call home, Kinsale, in easy commuting distance, could be your perfect choice.
Housing and day to day life in Limerick is cheaper than Dublin by a considerable margin, making it a popular choice for expats and locals alike. There are a number of global businesses based in and around the city, providing employment opportunities. The city itself boasts a beautiful historic centre in easy reach of many of the country’s natural beauty spots. ¹¹
If you’re considering making the leap, and moving to Ireland to live and work, you’ve got an exciting journey ahead. With jaw dropping natural beauty, a lively cultural scene and globally famous nightlife, Ireland has something to offer everyone.
Take some time to research your options in advance, and you’ll find it easier to get up and running once you arrive on the Emerald Isle. Simple things like setting up a euro bank account in advance can make all the difference. Get yourself a Wise borderless account, so you can manage your money in dollars, euros and pretty much any other currency you need, simply and safely — and save yourself some money too.
Al sources last checked on 11 April 2019
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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