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Largest-ever expansion and change to the Irish employment permits system effective from January 2024

Minister Richmond announces largest ever expansion to the employment permits system at the end of December 2023. The following new changes will become effective from the 17th of January 2024.

  • 11 new occupations are added to the Critical Skills Occupations List

  • 32 new occupations are made eligible for a General Employment Permit

  • The salary requirement for the majority of General Employment Permit holders will rise from €30,000 to €34,000 in January 2024

  • The salary requirements for healthcare assistants and home carers will increase from €27,000; for horticultural workers and meat processors, it will increase from €22,000 to €30,000, bringing them in line with family reunification thresholds

  • Extension of existing quotas for dairy farm assistants, butcher/deboners, meat processors and horticultural workers

  • A Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT) is required for General Employment Permit applications and will have to reflect the revised thresholds in order to be deemed valid.

The expansion of the eligible occupation for general and critical skill employment permits reflects the skill shortage in Ireland. It opens the door for labour and skills outside the EEA to fill this shortage.

Changes to Irish employment permit system 2024 with changes to salary requirements
This expansion will open doors for additional occupations to become eligible for Irish employment permits.
Summary of expansion to the occupation list and quota

Occupations removed from the Ineligible Occupations List, making them eligible for a General Employment Permit:

Occupations added to Critical Skills Occupation List:

Quota Extensions for the following occupations:

  • Residential Day and Domiciliary Case Managers – in Disability Services

  • Play Therapist – in Disability Services

  • Genetic Counsellor

  • Social Care Worker

  • Family Support Workers – in Disability Services

  • Project Offices, Disability

  • Support Worker (social, community, public and charity)

  • Guide Dog Mobility Instructor for the Visually Impaired

  • Autism Assistance Dog Instructor

  • Pig Managers

  • Smiths and forge workers

  • Moulders, core makers and die casters

  • Metal plate workers and riveters

  • Car mechanic, Motor mechanic, Auto electrician, Motor vehicle technician

  • HGV mechanic

  • Vehicle body builders and repairers/Body shop panel beaters

  • Electrician, electrical contractor, electrical engineer,

  • Vehicle paint technician

  • Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades supervisors

  • Upholstery and furniture operatives

  • Butchers/(de)boner

  • Baker

  • Furniture makers and other craft woodworkers

  • Senior Care Workers – in Disability Services

  • Textile Process Operatives

  • Wood Machine Operatives

  • Saw Doctor/Wood Machine Mechanic

  • Armature Rewinder

  • Pig Farm Assistants

  • Speciality Forestry Harvesting Technician  

  • Professional Forester

  • Resource modelling, earth observation and data analyst

  • Meteorologist

  • Operational Forecaster

  • Chemical Engineer

  • Project Engineer

  • BIM Manager

  • Optometrist (Ophthalmic Optician)

  • Commercial Manager

  • BIM Coordinator/Technician

  • Estimator

1,000 GEPs for meat processing operatives

  • 350 GEPs for butcher/deboners

  • 350 GEPs for dairy farm assistants

  • 1,000 GEPs have been provided for horticultural workers to support the sector until the introduction of the Seasonal Employment Permit 

Updated salary requirement for Irish employment permits, effective from the 17th of January 2024.

Employment Permit Type

Jan 2024

Jan 2025*

July 2025

Jan 2026




Meat Processing / Horticulture





Healthcare Assistant / Home Carer





Graduate Positions; Language Skills Specialist



Butcher / Boner



Critical Skills with a relevant degree



Critical Skills without a degree



Intra-Company Transfer (Trainee)



Intra-Company Transfer



Contract for Services



 * January 2025 and January 2026 figures are preliminary, based on the most recent CSO data and subject to change with further releases.

Future Direct specialises in Irish Employment Permits and immigration. We are one of the leading immigration consultancy firms providing immigration services to corporates and individual clients in Ireland. If you have any questions on the above information or Irish employment permit in general, feel free to call us today at +353 872400433 or email