Information regarding employment permits and immigration provisions for medical doctors
This notice replaces previous arrangements published on 27 December 2013. These arrangements are subject to updating from time to time.
Permission to take up employment will not be granted to Non-EEA doctors who enter the State without the correct landing permission and, where applicable, the correct entry visa.
Arrangements for Non-EEA Doctors working in the State commencing 1 January 2014
New arrangements have been agreed between INIS, the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation regarding the immigration and employment permits regime to be applied in respect of non-EEA doctors (including locum doctors) either already working in the State or seeking entry to the State.
These new arrangements do not apply to doctors holding immigration permission Stamp 4. Doctors holding Stamp 4 may be renewed on this immigration permission for two years provided they still continue to practice medicine. At all times doctors must remain in compliance with all Regulations, Guidelines and Requirements as set out by the Medical Council of Ireland and /or HSE.
EU Treaty Rights - a doctor whose case is being determined by EU Treaty Rights Division in INIS will continue to be granted immigration permission Stamp 4 for six months only. The ensuing immigration permission will then be determined by the outcome of the case.
Locum Doctors - see 5(i) below.
1. Employment Permit requirement – from 1 March 2014
(i) Senior House Officers (SHOs) and Registrars who were granted immigration permission Stamp 1 for a 2 year period prior to 1 March 2014 and who are currently employed as SHOs and Registrars in a public hospital or public health facility may continue to work without the requirement of an Employment Permit until their immigration permission expires provided they continue to work in a public hospital or public health facility. (see (v) below re renewal of permission).
If they wish to take up an offer of employment in a private hospital or private health facility within that time frame an Employment Permit will be required.
(ii) A doctor who has always been required to hold an Employment Permit must continue to do so. This includes all doctors working in a private hospital or private health facility and certain categories of doctors working in a public hospital or public health facility (not SHOs/Registrars).
(iii) A doctor who holds an Employment Permit as he/she is working in a private hospital or private health facility will be required to secure a new Employment Permit should he/she wish to change employment to a public hospital or public health facility after 1 March 2014. The new Employment Permit must be applied for prior to taking up employment in the public hospital or public health facility.
(iv) All doctors registering on or after 1 March 2014 (Stamp 4 holders being exempt) whether for the first time or renewing their immigration permission will be required to hold an Employment Permit issued by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation for both public and private hospitals and health facilities.
(v) Doctors who are due to renew their immigration permission should ensure that an application for an Employment Permit has been submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the expiry date of their immigration permission.
(vi) The duration of the immigration permission granted will be linked to the duration of the Employment Permit. Therefore, doctors will be granted an immigration permission of either 6 months or one year subject to the duration of the contract as stated on the Employment Permit.
(vii) Detailed information in relation to Employment Permit policy and application procedures may be found here.
2. Transitional Administrative Arrangements from 1 January 2014 to 28 February 2014 for Doctors working as SHO/Registrars in Public Hospitals
Between 1 January 2014 and 28 February 2014, SHOs and Registrars wishing to register for the first time and any doctors wishing to renew registration during these two months will be granted immigration permission Stamp 1 for a period of either the duration of the employment contract or for a period of 12 months, whichever is the lesser.
The current practice of granting permission for a two year period has ceased as of 1 January 2014.
3. Doctors coming to Ireland to sit the PRES Examination – as from 1 January 2014
Doctors will be permitted to enter the State to sit the PRES examination. However, all doctors who are granted permission to do so must leave the State on completion of the examination. If successful in this examination doctors may only re-enter the State with an Employment Permit issued by the Department of Enterprise and Innovation and the appropriate visa where applicable.
An Employment Permit will not be granted to persons remaining in the State without the correct landing permission and, where applicable, the correct entry visa. This is in line with current practice in respect of all areas of employment. Doctors who fail the exam and wish to repeat it must apply to do so from outside the State.
Doctors who do not comply with the requirement to leave the State and therefore who remain illegally in the State will not be eligible to apply for an Employment Permit.
4. Doctors coming to Ireland for Interviews in the Public or Private Sector
Where an employer wishes to interview a qualified doctor who is currently residing outside the State, in advance of making an offer of employment, the recently introduced "Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation" – agreed between the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Justice and Equality (INIS) – may be utilised in line with the conditions published on the websites of both Departments - Highly Skilled Job Interview Authorisation.
5. Locum Doctors
(i) Doctors entering the State as a Locum and Locum doctors seeking to renew their immigration permission on 1 March 2014
With effect from 1 March 2014 such locum doctors who are offered employment contracts with a hospital or health facility (public or private) and are remunerated directly by these hospitals or health facilities will be required to hold an Employment Permit in line with the new requirements set out in Section 1.
(ii) Atypical Working Scheme and Locum Doctors With effect from 1 July 2014 new administrative arrangements will be put in place for all locum doctors including those who continue to be engaged by an Agency i.e. locum doctors not directly paid or employed by a hospital or health facility (public or private).
Locum doctors must apply under the Atypical Working Scheme prior to seeking entry to the State. Information regarding this Scheme is available on the INIS website - Atypical Working Scheme Guidelines
Under the Atypical Working Scheme such locum doctors may be granted immigration permission Stamp 1 for 6 consecutive months. Successful applicants must register with the Garda National immigration Bureau and pay the appropriate Registration fee prior to taking up any employment as a Locum doctor.
At the end of the 6 month permission period locum doctors must then either (i) leave the State or (ii) secure an offer of employment from a hospital as an employee (having obtained an Employment Permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation prior to the expiry date of their immigration permission).
Locum doctors who do not secure an offer of employment from a hospital as an employee and who have left the State, may
- return as a Locum doctor engaged by an Agency after an absence of 6 months having made an application under the Atypical Working Scheme to resume work in that capacity or,
- seek re-entry to the State at any time provided they have secured an offer of employment as an employee in a hospital or health facility and obtained a Employment Permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
(i) As an interim measure, Locum doctors whose immigration permission is due to expire between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2014 must
(a) make an application for the six month permission granted under the Atypical Working Scheme if engaged and salaried by an Agency to resume work in that capacity or,
(b) ensure that an application for an Employment Permit has been submitted if they have secured an offer of employment as an employee in a hospital or health facility i.e. remunerated by that body.
(ii) Doctors whose immigration permission will expire after 31 December 2014 and who have been working as a Locum engaged by an Agency will not be granted further permission to work in that capacity as they will have already worked as a Locum doctor for 6 months or more prior to the expiry of their immigration permission. Should they wish to renew their immigration permission they must either -
- secure a contract of employment with either a public or private hospital and hold an Employment Permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation or
- leave the State and return as a Locum doctor engaged by an Agency after an absence of 6 months having made an application under the Atypical Working Scheme to resume work in that capacity or,
- having left the State, return at any time provided they have secured an offer of employment as an employee in a hospital and obtained an Employment Permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation prior to taking up employment in the hospital.
6. Conditions – applicable to all Doctors
(i) No doctor may take up employment in any capacity until he/she is registered with the Medical Council of Ireland.
(ii) No doctor may take up employment in any capacity until he/she is registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau and lawfully holds a Certificate of Registration (GNIB card).
(iii) Doctors must ensure that they comply with Employment Permit/Atypical Working Scheme requirements.
(iv) Doctors employed in the State must ensure that they are tax compliant.
(v) All hospitals and health facilities should satisfy themselves that the doctor has complied with the above requirements prior to engaging him/her in employment.
7. Registration Arrangements
Doctors who present to the Garda National Immigration Bureau or their local registration officer for first time registration or renewal may be registered on production of the following documentation –
(a) A valid passport.
(b) Original Certificate of Registration from the Medical Council (or, where the Certificate of Registration is pending, a printout from the Medical Council's Register endorsed by the HSE or employing hospital will be accepted).
(c) From 1 March 2014 (where applicable) - a valid Employment Permit if taking up an employment contract with a public or private hospital.
(d) From 1 July 2014 – an Atypical Working Scheme Letter of Approval if working as a Locum.
In line with current policy, immigration permission will not be granted to a doctor offered the post of observership in either private or public hospitals.
- All Stamp 1 immigration permissions, as described above, are granted on the basis of the doctor remaining in the type of posting held at the time of registration and for the duration of the immigration permission granted.
- No other type of employment may be undertaken within the duration of the immigration permission granted.
- All Employment Permits are employer and job specific and the Doctor may only work for the employer and in the job title named on the permit.
- Doctors holding immigration permission Stamp 1 may not set up any type of business, medical or GP practice without applying for specific business permission to do so. See the Immigration/Business Permission section of the INIS website for further information in this regard.
The onus rests with health service employers, public and private, and all Doctors to ensure compliance with all Employment Permit and Atypical Working Scheme requirements.
Employment Permits Section
2 September 2017