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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure IE-2022-11/2390 – measures in Ireland

Changes to employment arrangements will benefit 1,800 non-EEA doctors

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 08 March 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Mobilisation of a larger workforce
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Measure added 20 May 2022 (updated 20 June 2022)

Background information

In December 2021, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, in agreement with the Department of Justice and the Department of Health, introduced a new 2-year multi-site general employment permit for non-EEA doctors working in the public health system.

Prior to December 2021, all general employment permit holders, including doctors, had to complete 5 years residence and work before becoming eligible for a Stamp 4, which offers the right to work without preconditions.

Content of measure

Under the new scheme, non-EEA doctors who have worked in the State for between 2-5 years and who hold a General Employment Permit can apply for the right to work without a permit. Their spouses or partners will also be allowed to work.

Doctors working in public hospitals, publicly funded agencies, hospitals and private hospitals who have completed two years’ service in Ireland will be entitled to apply for the new ‘Stamp 4’ arrangement. Their spouses will also have labour market access.

According to the Government: “These changes will make Ireland a more attractive place for doctors to relocate to. In particular, this will help with the struggle to staff smaller hospitals and increase the number of applications for posts.”

Use of measure

It is estimated that currently, up to 1,800 non-EEA doctors who are in Ireland will be eligible.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Migrants or refugees in employment
Workers in essential services
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public employment service
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


No involvement

Views and reactions

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) welcomed the changes to work permits and visas for non-EEA doctors, but described them as "first steps in addressing a range of issues".

In a statement, it said that IMO has been "fighting for fairness for our International Doctors for many years now".

"Our public health services are very reliant on the dedication and commitment of our International Doctors and we must do everything possible to ensure proper career structures for them," the statement added.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities Q86 Human health activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Health professionals


  • 17 December 2021: Non-EEA doctors welcome work permit and visa changes (
  • 08 March 2022: Up to 1,800 doctors to benefit from changes to immigration rules (


Eurofound (2022), Changes to employment arrangements will benefit 1,800 non-EEA doctors, measure IE-2022-11/2390 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.