Moving to Ireland
Internationally renowned as a home of poets, stout, whiskey and the ever elusive craic, it’s not difficult to see why people are moving to Ireland. Also known as Eire, Ireland has long attracted visitors from every corner of the globe in search of cosy pubs and smiling eyes.
In recent years, since the creation of the EU in fact, the ROI has reversed its long-held status as a net exporter of people. Large numbers of immigrants, both from Europe and farther afield, are now calling Ireland home and finding that the famous craic is as inclusive as it is exhilarating.
The employment rate has been rising again since mid-2012, healthcare is still offered at a high standard for a nominal cost and Ireland’s vast historical and cultural wealth has not diminished in the slightest. The Guinness still flows, the music still plays and it’ll take a lot more than a debt crisis to put an end to the craic.
As for the land, lush greenery and majestic rolling hills in the countryside set Ireland apart from the rest of Europe. The climate in Ireland is mild, but very changeable, and the country sees light rainfall and cloud cover all year round. Ireland’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean ensures that its weather is less volatile than countries located in areas of similar latitude across Europe.
Visas and becoming an Irish citizen
If you’re a holder of a EU passport, you don’t need a visa to study, work, live, or move to Ireland, however you may need a registration if you’re planning on staying in the country for more than 3 months.
If you’re a holder of a passport outside the EU, you’ll need to apply for a study or work visa if you want to stay longer than three months in Ireland.
Gaining Irish citizenship
Most people in Ireland achieve their citizenship because they were either born in Ireland or are a direct descendant of someone who holds an Irish passport.
Anyone who was not born in Ireland and who does not have a direct familial link to an Irish passport holder must apply for citizenship through a process called naturalisation. Applying for and achieving Irish Citizenship through this process can be a long and complicated affair.
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Healthcare for expats
When moving to Ireland, it’s important, as with any country, to make sure you are setup with the local healthcare system. The Irish healthcare system has a two tier structure: Irish residents can avail of public or private hospital healthcare.
Public hospital healthcare
The public healthcare system is managed and operated by the Health Service Executive. This public service is funded through taxation and has been subject to budget cuts in recent years.
A hiring embargo which affects staffing levels in public hospitals have resulted in many public patients experiencing long waiting times when seeking both urgent and long-term health and medical care. Emergency transport to hospitals in Dublin can be problematic as most hospitals are based in the city where traffic congestion can occur.
Private hospital healthcare
There are an increasing number of private hospital healthcare providers servicing Ireland. Residents who wish to avail of private healthcare must pay for health insurance. Health insurance in Ireland is expensive but gives peace of mind that long waiting lists for consultations are avoided and quality healthcare is provided on time.
There is a plethora of private practice doctors in Ireland, even residents of rural towns and villages have easy access to a local private general practitioner. These doctors look after both private and public patients.
Private patients pay on a cost per consultation basis. A standard visit to a private general practitioner will cost about €50 – €60. Public patients who can demonstrate that they fall into a low income bracket are given a medical card which entitles them to free GP care.
While many young graduates from Ireland have been moving to nearby England for jobs, there is still a decent job market in Ireland for those who know where to look.
Many international companies such as Facebook, Paypal, LinkedIn, and Amazon based their International or EU headquarters in Ireland for tax purposes. Finding jobs in these sectors relies heavily on recruiters and online job boards.
There is a strong and growing startup culture in Ireland. Entrepreneurship is encouraged and people want to take control of their future having seen how many people were made redundant in the crash. Many people who received redundancy payments in the last number of years would have used these payments to start small businesses.
Certain industries and demographic groups were more affected by the financial crash than others. Many young professionals struggle to find employment due to their lack of experience in an increasingly competitive job market where older professionals are willing to work a lot harder for less.
In the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in consumer confidence resulting in a more open job market. Unemployment rates are slowly falling and there are strong opportunities for those working in the IT and financial services sectors.
Essential information for Republic of Ireland:
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|International dialling code:||+353|
|Emergency numbers:||999 and 112|
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|Tipping:||not required; 5-10% for extraordinary service|
Property prices in Ireland have dropped significantly since the financial crash.
Recent reports however indicate that the market has bottomed out and in some parts of the country house prices are starting to slowly rise once again. This recent rise in prices in certain areas can be attributed to a shortage of supply. It is unlikely that the exorbitant pre-boom prices will ever return.
There is a serious shortage of houses available for rent and purchase in the greater Dublin area. This is due to the fact that people from the west and midlands have moved nearer the capital in recent years to areas where there are more job prospects and opportunities. This lack of supply has pushed rental prices to almost unaffordable levels for most people. A small 3 bedroom semi detached house in the outer Dublin Suburbs is available to rent for €1400 per month. In comparison a large family home on an acre of land in Donegal, West Ireland is available to rent for only €400 per month.
Obtaining a mortgage in Ireland has become more difficult in recent years. Only those in permanent jobs have any real prospect of being mortgage approved. New legislation means that a significant deposit or security must be paid before being approved for a mortgage. Most lenders will only lend three times the applicants yearly salary.
When deciding on a location to relocate to transport options available should be a big consideration, especially in Dublin.
Cost of moving to Ireland
Shipping costs to Ireland will vary widely depending on whether you are heading to the east or west coast, and of course, from where you are shipping. Below are indicative shipping costs for a 20 foot container.
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The past number of years has seen a huge increase in the popularity of low cost German discounters amongst Irish people. These discount supermarkets offer quality European food and goods at reasonable prices that are standardised across the country.
There are also several indigenous Irish supermarket chains. These chains tend to have a better selection of Irish grown produce and artisan goods. They charge higher prices in comparison to German discounters but some would say they offer a much friendlier customer service experience as they have more staff on the shop floor.
Small independently owned family shops are becoming somewhat of a rarity in Ireland. Naturally all small convenience stores based in or near city centres charge a premium price for even the most basic of goods like Milk and bread etc.
In general, there is good value to be found if one is willing to shop around. Many supermarkets offer daily specials and discounts on certain product lines. It is not uncommon for Irish people to shop in two or three different shops in an effort to get a bargain and reduce grocery spend. Alcohol is quite expensive throughout Ireland due to the hefty tax applied to the sale of alcoholic beverages. Typically a pint of Guinness will cost between €4.50 and €5.50 in a pub.
Transport is becoming more and more expensive in Ireland. Public transport costs are constantly rising due to increasing fuel and operational costs. The cost of running a car is also on the rise. Insurance costs are at an all-time high due to an increase in claims in the past number of years.
All motor vehicles must undergo a roadworthiness test on a biannual and annual basis depending on the age of the car. This test costs 55euro. If the vehicle fails the test it cannot be driven until the problem is rectified which can be quite costly.
Most people who work in Dublin get to work by public transport. In most cases it is not practical to drive into the city. as the cost of parking can be expensive and parking spaces are in short supply. Buses and other public service vehicles ferrying passengers use dedicated bus lanes which means that they can bypass most congestion. In Galway and Cork commuters are more likely to drive to work as there is not as good a public transport network and much more space for parking in the city.
Taxis are always plentiful in towns and cities around Ireland. It is often said that there are more taxis registered in Dublin than in New York City. It is illegal for taxi drivers to agree a rate with the passenger prior to reaching their destination. A premium rate applies at night time.
There are a number of telecommunication providers competing for business in the Irish market, however still internet and telephone charges remain some of the highest in Europe. It is important to shop around in order to get the best deal. If you also require TV and landline services it may be best to go for a monthly billable package plan with one provider that incorporates internet, telephone and TV.
Broadband coverage remains an issue in some areas of rural Ireland and in the midlands. The government have committed to investing in a proper broadband infrastructure but this will take a number of years to roll out.
Schools and education
Children attend primary school for a period of 6 years. They then progress as teenagers into secondary school where they stay for another 6 years. State examinations are sat in secondary school.
Primary education in Ireland is fully funded by the Irish government. This means that there is usually a good mix of students from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds. There is a growing interest in Educate Together Schools which have a slightly different way of teaching. These are multi denominational schools with a more diverse curriculum.
Second level education is a little different. There are a vast number of public schools which are free to attend, however there are also a growing number of private fee paying schools, some of which are well established. Sending a child to a private school will usually cost at least €5,000 per annum. Private schools have better facilities in general when compared with their public counterparts and usually have smaller class sizes. Private boarding schools can cost upwards of €10,000 per term but are fairly uncommon nowadays.
Universities in Ireland
Most students in Ireland go on to complete some form of further study after leaving secondary school. There is a very good third level education system in Ireland and the country is known for producing a highly skilled and astute workforce. Entry into university programmes depend on the individual’s state examination results.
Tertiary, or university education, in Ireland is paid for by the state, however the government has recently introduced a registration fee model where even those receiving free education pay about €4000 per year in the form of a registration fee.
Some top universities are University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin (ranked 78th in the world), and University College Dublin, offering a myriad of programmes from Computer Science to Archaeology. There are also several arts schools.
Driving in Ireland
If you currently hold a full EU driving licence you can drive as normal using your EU licence as long as it is still valid. You may exchange this full EU driving licence for a full Irish Licence within 10 years of the EU licence having expired. Ireland has similar exchange agreements with a number of non-EU states. A full list of these partner states is available from the Irish National Driving Licence Service.
If you are from a country that does not have an official exchange agreement with Ireland you still may drive in Ireland for a period of 12 months providing you have a full licence from your home country.
If you are planning to stay in Ireland for more than 12 months you must apply for a learner permit and go through a formal process in applying for a learner permit, sitting 12 mandatory practical lessons with a driving instructor and finally sitting a driving test that is assessed by the Irish Road Safety Authority. Upon sitting the driving test and passing you will be given a certificate of competency which can be exchanged for an Irish driving licence.
Ranking against the world
Aside from having a large number of immigrants in America, the UK, and Canada, and making St. Paddy’s Day, Ireland is known for many heritage sites, artists, and scientific achievements. Ireland is one of the greenest countries in the world – and we mean eco-friendly this time – though few realise it.
The healthcare system in Ireland was ranked #19, above the likes of Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and Australia, according to WHO. Ireland was also ranked #36 on the list of countries with the highest well being, about Australia, Malta, and France.