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A Guide to Working Abroad in Ireland

Ireland is an island of lush green hills and unique rock formations, dotted with quaint towns with thatched-roof pubs, where the people are impossibly friendly and there’s much craic (an Irish term for “having a good time”) to be had. Believe it or not, this dominant perception of the country, alongside its storied history and culture, is just one dimension of Ireland. In fact, there is an incredibly vibrant, creative, and innovative edge that is propelling the country, slowly shaping its future, as it recovers from the recent recession. To work abroad in Ireland is to be a part of this country of the young and old, modern and historic, a truly colorful place full of potential.


Dublin. The Irish capital is sometimes referred to as a “City of Villages.” It is an apt nickname for Dublin, where each neighborhood is as distinct as the next. As the capital city, job opportunities exist in almost any industry you can think of. Dublin’s stock as a tourist destination is high and rising, thus, it’s not surprising that job opportunities in the tourism and service industries are plentiful. The city is also leading the way, with a boom in creativity and innovation leading to many tech superpowers and startups, including, but not limited to, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Dropbox, calling “Silicon Dock” home.

Galway. Known as “Ireland’s Cultural Heart,” Galway is a cozy town situated on the west coast of Ireland. It is a young city with a “university town” feeling and has a thriving arts scene. Among the cobblestoned streets of the city center, you’ll find an intangible energy reverberating from the cafes, pubs, street musicians, and the waters of the River Corrib, coursing through the city center. The city sees strong employment in the commerce, manufacturing, and tourism industries.

Cork. Every capital city needs a rival and Cork is Dublin’s. Located in the south of Ireland, it is the second most populous city in the country. The city is the cultural hub of the south of the country. The most prominent industry employers are in pharmaceuticals, featuring companies like Pfizer and Novartis, while there are quite a few IT employers as well, such as Apple and Logitech.

Jobs Abroad in Ireland

Jobs in Ireland are available in a range of industries (especially in the cities). With the growing technology sector, there’s a wealth of opportunities in IT. The growing economy has led to a flourishing marketing/advertising industry through a mixture of agencies and in-house marketing departments.

Ireland is also the home of several multinational pharmaceutical companies that are the source of huge numbers of jobs in Ireland. As one of the hottest holiday destinations in the world right now (with a record number of visitors every year for the last few years), it makes sense that Ireland also has a thriving tourism and hospitality industry, with many work abroad programs as well (including the opportunity to work as an au pair in Ireland).

The work week in Ireland is generally 35 to 40 hours a week for a full-time employee in a typical office setting. Of course, that can vary according to the nature of the job in Ireland. An Irish office is relatively relaxed, a work day is usually complete with tea breaks and banter.

While Irish is the official language of Ireland, English is the dominant language used in the country. A knowledge of Irish is not necessary to work abroad in Ireland.

Salary & Affordability

The minimum wage for work in Ireland is €8.65 per hour (roughly $10/hour). The cost of living is relatively high compared to other countries in Europe, however, costs varies according to where you work abroad in Ireland. Numbeo’s Cost of Living index (CPI) rates Dublin at 88.0 compared to NYC at 100 and London at 103.64, whereas Cork and Galway are ranked a bit lower at 82.7 and 79.56, respectively. Keep in mind a tipping culture is less prominent in Ireland.

Accommodation & Visas

Competition for accommodation is fierce in the city center of Dublin. With a greater demand than supply, housing prices are a bit steep. However, housing is much more affordable everywhere else in the country. In city centers, apartments are the most common form of accommodation. However, Irish cities (including Dublin) are small enough that commuting from the surrounding suburbs is a convenient option as well.

For students and recent graduates (from the U.S.), it is possible to obtain short-term working holiday visas typically for a 12 month stay. A form of the working holiday visa is also available for citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina, and Taiwan.

For other forms of employment, non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals will find a few more obstacles in obtaining a visa to work abroad in Ireland. For General Employment Permits, your employer would have to sponsor you for an employment permit and the job in Ireland would have to pass a labor market test to prove the role cannot be filled by an EEA national. For a Critical Skills Employment Permit, eligibility depends on whether or not your role is categorized as a labor need, in which case your employer could sponsor you for a permit, without the need for a labor market test.

Benefits & Challenges

Cutting Edge Innovation. In recent years, Ireland has grown its reputation as a hub of innovation and creativity with Dublin leading the way. Besides being the home of a myriad multinationals, Dublin is developing a name as a place where professionals from all over the world congregate to exchange ideas and conversation.

Tech and Creative Industry Leader. The Web Summit, an intensive three-day conference, focused around the technology industry, which started in 2010, has grown from having 500 attendees in their initial year to over 20,000 attendees in 2014, featuring speakers as decorated as Tesla’s Elon Musk and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Likewise, Offset is also a three-day conference, centered around creativity, which has grown exponentially since its inception in 2009, featuring industry leaders in fields like graphic design, illustration, animation, film, advertising, and more.

It’s this mix of the new and modern with the traditions and Irish culture that makes jobs abroad in Ireland so unique!

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