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Ireland: Career Prospects - Must read

Finding a graduate career in Ireland

Learn how to kick-start your career in Ireland after you graduate

Software Engineer

Once called the ‘Celtic Tiger’ for its economic prowess, the job market in Ireland has definitely had its ups and downs. But with a number of rising universities, a growing economy and advancing sectors, graduates can breathe a sigh of relief in the face of their employment prospects. Are you considering studying in Ireland, but aren’t quite sure what awaits you when you graduate? Read our breakdown of life after graduation to help assuage your fears and get you on your way to studying abroad.

Can I stay?

Whilst students from the EU may work and study in Ireland without restriction, non‑EU students will need an Employment Permit.

When completing a study programme in Ireland that is longer than three months, you will need to register with the local immigration office in the area you’re living in. When you do so, the specific conditions under which you are able to remain in Ireland, including the amount of time you have to leave the country after the completion of your studies will be attached to your visa. These conditions will depend on the length of your study programme. 

Non-EU students with a Masters degree will be allowed to remain in Ireland for 6 months after completing their studies, whilst PhD and Post-Doctorate holders may stay for up to one year. In this time, you may apply for a work permit or a green card permit. Bachelors students will need to consult their specific visa conditions for an idea of how long they can stay in Ireland after graduating.  You will need to have already secured employment in order to apply for a work permit.

Check if you are an EU student

Which work permit will I need?

There are four types of work permit: a green card permit, work permit, intra-company transfer employment permit and a spousal/dependant work permit. As an international student, you are unlikely to require the latter two permit types: one caters for senior employees transferring to Ireland from an overseas branch of a multinational company, whilst the other is for spouses and dependants of an employment permit holder.

Green card permits are granted to graduates will a skill set that applies to an occupation on a restricted list, or any graduate with a salary of over €60,000 (US$82,878). Work permits are for graduates who are ineligible for a green card permit. Some occupations are ineligible for a work permit.

To apply for a permit, you or your employer will need to download and fill out an employment permit application form and send it to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Dublin. You can find out more about specific application procedures, relevant fees and guidelines on this page.

Find out if your occupation is eligible for a work permit

What’s the graduate market like?

Whilst the Irish economy has historically been a bit of a sore spot, clear signs that the nation will be able to manage its debt levels in the coming years have come to the fore. Services account for some 67% of the economy, with the pharmaceutical, computer and electronics, mining and food industries also significant contributors to growth: good news for graduates of Pharmacology, Geology, Mining Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics and ICT.

An increase in exports has also caused some growth in the agri-food sector, whilst students of ICT, Hospitality and Tourism can also expect a boost in their employment prospects. Ireland also has a large proportion of workers employed in clean-tech industries. Main areas of skill shortage include IT, Nursing, sales managers, insurance staff, Engineers, chefs, drivers, hospitality staff and mechanics, with IT graduates named particularly difficult to source.

A number of multinational companies have established offices in Ireland, including Apple, PayPal and Smartbox. With IDA predicting that 40% of jobs in the coming years will be in Technology and Science, prospects for graduates in these fields are also looking good.

How can I find a job?

Looking for a job in a foreign country is always intimidating. Before you start, its best you get acquainted with the nation’s general economy and state of affairs, as well as gleaning a more in-depth understanding of the sector you’re looking to enter. You can pick up these sorts of specifics from the IDA Ireland website, and read up on current affairs on the Irish Times or Independent.

Almost all professions in Ireland are tied to larger societies or organisations that provide industry information, employment opportunities and resources on the recognition of your qualifications to date. For example, Engineering graduates might consult Engineers Ireland for job opportunities and industry events, whilst students of Law would visit the Law Society of Ireland website.

The easiest way to search for a job is through online search engines like Best Jobs Ireland, or IrishJobs. You can also look for employment via classified ads in the newspaper, on job boards or through any connections you may have developed during your studies.

As an international, non-EU student you are allowed to complete internship and work placement programmes whilst you study, provided they do not exceed 50% of the total duration of your studies. For example, student completing a four year programme are allowed to complete two years worth of work experience placements. Whilst these programmes are not intended to lead to employment, they are a great way to expose yourself to professional networks and gain invaluable industry experience that may help you identify employment opportunities later.

Can my university help?

In almost all cases your university will definitely be able to help you in some way. Whether directly through an advice service, jobs board or even a nudge in the right direction, you should always consult your host university’s student services and take full advantage of what is available to you.

For example, Trinity College Dublin dedicates an entire section of its website to helping students start their careers, offering industry and CV advice, a job search engine and comprehensive overview of labour market trends. University College Cork offers comprehensive career advice including tips for CV writing and an overview of what UCC graduates have gone on to do after graduating.


Feel like you’re ready to tackle to job market after you graduate? Browse courses in Ireland now are get your study abroad planning process on the road!

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About Author

Software Engineer

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.