Contracting in Ireland


Ireland is located in the North Atlantic right next to the United Kingdom and is the third largest island in Europe.  Southern Ireland is a republic, but part of northern Ireland belongs to Great Britain.  Ireland has a rich Gaelic culture although English is now the prominent language.

England claimed sovereignty over the Island and due to this and divisions in religion led to violent historical conflict with England which only subsided in the last century, although as already mentioned Northern Ireland still remains a part of Great Britain.

Ireland is attributed to influencing many other cultures through literature.  Many Irish relocated to America and this has led to a wide range of persons tracing their lineage back to Ireland.  This combined with a general popularity for the country means that a large percent of the world hold celebrations on St Patrick’s day.  Ireland is also a member of the European Union.

Due to its membership of the EU the currency in Southern Ireland is the Euro, however as the North is part of the United Kingdom its currency is sterling.  This has led to the island adapting to ensure that commercial activity is not impaired by this, basically making it somewhat multi-currency.  Ireland has a strong tourist industry due to its worldwide appeal.  It is also tipped to be a major contender for companies looking to perhaps leave the UK due to Brexit as it is in close proximity, will still be part of the European Union and will result in less of an upheaval than other European options.

It would seem that the timing is right for Ireland to be a perfect fit for English speaking professionals looking to freelance or contract their services.  Chesterfield have an office in Ireland and have decades of experience with assisting with a variety of needs such as banking solutions, accounting and VAT services.


If you are from the UK you can live and work in Ireland without conditions or restrictions.   If you are from outside the UK then like most European countries you can stay in Ireland for up to ninety days.
If you plan to stay for more than ninety days and are not from the UK then your options are:-

  • Irish resident permit. This is roughly the size of a credit card and should be carried with you at all times.  It basically confirms that you have registered with immigration and the type of immigration permission that you have.  This card is for non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizens.  The cost for this card is EUR300.
  • General Employment Permit.  This covers a wide range of occupations and is dependant on a job offer.  You are expected to stay with your initial employer for a period of twelve months and should earn a minimum of EUR30,000 per year.  This is normally issued for a period of two years and then can be renewed for up to a further three years.  After five years you can apply for permanent residency.
  • Critical Skills Employment Permits.  This covers certain occupations which either require a more highly skilled person or is an area of particular skill shortage in Ireland and allows your family to come with you to Ireland. The job offer should be for more than two years, any less and you will need to apply for a general employment permit.  The minimum wage is a bit unclear as for some professions this only need to be EUR32,000 a year, but for others should be in excess of EUR60,000.  There will be some additional paperwork with regards to demonstrating your skills and qualifications and the processing fee for this permit is EUR1000 of which 90% is refunded in the event of an unsuccessful application.  After two years you can apply for permanent residency.

Income Tax

Ireland has a Standard Rate of 20% and a Higher Rate of 40% that is paid on the balance, please note that the band depends on a variety of factors such as whether you are single or have children etc. and can get very confusing and we would recommend that you take advise in this matter to ensure that you are classified correctly.  Income tax only kicks in once you exceed €16,500.

Single Person                                                                      €35,300 @ 20%
Balance @ 40%

Single Parent/Widow                                                          €39,300 @ 20%
Balance @ 40%

Married/Civil Partnership (one income)                             €44,300 @ 20%
Balance @ 40%

Married/Civil Partnership (two incomes)                            €70,600 @ 20%
Balance @ 40%

Social Security

Ireland has a Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection whose job it is to take care of policy and administration of social security.  Ireland is progressive and most forms and information are available online.

Ireland has Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) which works on contributions which are put into the Social Insurance Fund.  The amount of PRSI that you pay depends on the class that you are in.  Self-employed are in class S, this means that your PRSI is 4% or your income or an annual minimum charge of €500, depending on which is greater and is compulsory providing you have a minimum annual income of over €5000.  You can also choose to make voluntary contributions in Ireland.

Providing that you have paid into the Social Insurance Fund in Ireland either whether compulsory or voluntary you are eligible for a variety of benefits even if you were self-employed.

Employment Rules

Like most European countries Ireland has employment laws in place to protect the employees.  Most of its labour legislation is derived directly from European Union directives and as any national of an EEA state may work without a work permit they are protected by these laws the same as any other individual in Ireland.  If you are from a non-EEA country then you do require a work permit, this work permit ensures that you too are covered by the labour laws in Ireland.  Even temporary agency workers are entitled to be covered by the same employment conditions as permanent workers although pensions and sick pay may not necessarily be included and therefore if a concern should be negotiated into your contract beforehand.  The legal maximum working hours in Ireland is forty eight hours, but this is over a four month average and can be subject to certain exemptions.

Ireland has extensive protection and any quarrels with be duly dealt with by The Workplace Relations Commission or the Labour Court.


Ireland has an extensive collection of both local and international banks.  You can open a bank account in Ireland even if you are not resident and some banks now even have the facility to apply online prior to moving to Ireland.  Ireland operates a similar banking system to the UK and The Central Bank of Ireland is responsible for regulation.

Banks in Ireland are generally open from 10.00 – 17.00 and usually have one day late opening.  Documentation to open an account is generally standard as in the rest of European.  If you are moving to Ireland the biggest problem may occur with proof of address as you don’t want to be without a bank account whilst you set up residence and utilities.

Chesterfield have had a presence in Ireland for many years and have relationships with several banks and can provide assistance with opening an account if necessary.

Corporate Structures

Ireland is an appealing choice for contracting and freelancers with a strong infrastructure and links to Europe, interesting heritage, language advantages for English speaking contractors and plenty of work opportunities.  Chesterfield assist in both self-employed services and employed payroll services.  Where taxes are deducted at source, which they are with our employed solutions we are able to give support with all aspects such as classification and amount and returns.  Our self-employed solutions involve the gross amount being sent and the freelancer is thereafter responsible for their own payment of taxes.  We can also assist in other matters such as incorporating companies in Ireland, opening bank accounts and registering for VAT if necessary.  Our presence in Ireland with an office in Dublin the country’s capital means that we can provide a more experienced and hands on approach if necessary.

Chesterfield and Contracting in Ireland

Chesterfield has maintained a presence in Ireland for decades now, but also has dedicated staff support from any number of our other offices.  This gives our contractors in Ireland the best of both worlds, the local knowledge and personal aspect combined with staff who are have the international experience and education.  If you would like to know more how we can help you with fulfilling your dreams of working in Ireland please do not hesitate to contact us.

Learn more about Ireland Payroll Services