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Ireland: Nearly 1,800 Non-EU/EEA Doctors Will Benefit From the New Immigration Rules

Doctors from third countries who have worked in their profession in Ireland for two to five years are now allowed to apply to work without preconditions, and their spouses will also be able to work in the country.

Ireland’s Minister of Justice, Helen McEntee, and Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly have announced significant changes to work arrangements and immigration permits for doctors from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

According to a press release issued on 8 March by Ireland’s Department for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, these changes will give most doctors with a General Work Permit the same rights as doctors with Essential Skills Employment Permits. The changes were introduced in an effort by the state to become more attractive to physicians, reports.

“It will help our health service to attract and retain medical staff and increase the number of applications for vacant positions. It will also reduce the administrative burden that the state bears on doctors and their employers.”

All non-EEA doctors who have been in Ireland for two or five years and have a general work permit can apply for a new one, which gives them the right to work without a permit. At the same time, their partners can also obtain permission allowing them to operate.

It is estimated that around 1,800 physicians outside the European Economic Area would benefit from this agreement.

These applications will be accepted by the Ministry of Enterprise, Trade and Employment over a period of six weeks, from mid-March to the end of April 2022.

Commenting on this agreement, Minister McEntee noted that immigrant physicians have played a critical role in Ireland’s health service for a long time, adding that these changes go towards their contribution.

She also noted that “improving immigration conditions for non-EEA physicians and their partners and spouses is welcome and is in line with my commitment to a fairer and more efficient immigration system.”

In this regard, Minister Donnelly stressed that these announced changes will give doctors from outside the European Economic Area more security regarding their immigration status, and will also provide opportunities for an extended career.

Furthermore, prior to December 2021, all physicians holding a General Work Permit were required to complete five years of residency and work before qualifying for a Stamp 4, which gives them the right to work unconditionally.

The Department of Justice now issues these physicians a valid HSE employment contract with Stamp 1, which is certified. However, Stamp 1 does not provide automatic employment rights for partners and spouses.

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