Important notice for non-EEA nurses who have been given a contract to work in Ireland as a nurse

These conditions apply to:

  1. EU trained applicants not entitled to direct registration under the provisions of EU Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
  2. Non-EU trained applicants for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) who are individually assessed by NMBI.


Since the commencement of the Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014 in September 2014, non-EEA nurses who have acquired a contract of employment are not entitled to work as a nurse in Ireland until they have successfully completed a Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme or Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) aptitude test in the State approved by the NMBI.

Entry into the State for these nurses is now facilitated under the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) administered by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of the Department of Justice and Equality.

The AWS provides a streamlined mechanism to deal with atypical employment where the nature of the work is not governed by the Employment Permits Acts or by administrative procedures under those Acts.

In essence, INIS will grant permission to work in the State in certain circumstances provided the employment is not in respect of an occupation on the Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits list of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Important notes for non-EEA Nurses

  • You must apply for the AWS using the current application form on the INIS website.
  • You must ensure that all documentation as outlined in the Appendix of the application form (on page 6) is attached.
  • Your employment contract must be for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Your passport should be in date for the duration of the contract.
  • You must pay a non-refundable fee of €250 in total at the time of application and attach proof of this payment with your application.
  • If you are paying the fee from abroad, ensure that you ask the bank for a Euro transaction first so that the full €250 is received. In order to ensure fairness, we cannot process your application unless this Department receives the full amount of €250.

You may make only one application under this Scheme in a 12-month period. If successful, you will receive an AWS letter of approval. Your approval letter is valid for 6 months from date of entry into the State. If you do not use it within 6 months of issue, it will lapse and you must submit a new application from the beginning.

You must make an application under the AWS from outside the State before applying for a visa if you are a visa-required national.

NMBI register

In order to work as a nurse in Ireland you must be registered on the NMBI register. There are two ways to achieve this as follows:

  1. You can undertake a clinical adaptation and assessment in an NMBI approved healthcare facility which can take between 6 – 12 weeks, or
  2. You can sit the RSCI Aptitude Test which takes place over the course of two weekends.

In all cases, a work permission under the AWS will not exceed six months.

This should be sufficient time to enable you to successfully complete the Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme/RCSI Examination, receive your certificate of registration from the NMBI, acquire an Employment Permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and register your permission in the State.

When you successfully complete your Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme/RCSI Aptitude Test and receive your Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the NMBI, your employer can apply for an Employment Permit for you.

Employment permit

The Employment Permit is granted only in respect of employment by the Irish based host body for the specific location included on the AWS Application Form and subsequently on the AWS Letter of Approval. The applicant is not permitted to change their employer or location of employment mid-contract. This may be varied only in the most exceptional of circumstances and will be closely monitored. The original letter of approval under this scheme must be returned with the request for any changes to the original request.

On receipt of an Employment Permit, the nurse must then register with INIS.

Note: as your stay in the State will exceed 90 consecutive days, you are obliged (under the provisions of the Immigration Act 2004) to register at your local Immigration Registration Office (Burgh Quay Registration Office/GNIB) within 90 days of arrival into the State.

Persons holding immigration permission Stamp 2 may apply from within the State but only if they have already been in the State for a minimum of 12 months. You must submit evidence of attendance at a recognised academic institution as part of the supporting documentation required.

If the application is successful, a change of immigration status involving new registration with GNIB (regardless of the balance of immigration permission that may remain under the Stamp 2 permission and the payment of the associated fee) will be required.

Non-EEA nurses holding immigration permission Stamp 3 may apply for AWS from within the State immediately.


In summary, the immigration permission granted under the AWS will cover a single 6-month period, beginning on the date of entry to the State. This 6-month period allows for the following:

  • You must complete the RCSI Aptitude Test/Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme;
  • On successfully completing step 1, you must register with the NMBI and receive your PIN;
  • Your employer must then apply for and obtain an Employment Permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation;
  • You must register with INIS.

Unsuccessful applicants

If you are unsuccessful in the Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme you may appeal the matter but must leave the State before expiry of the 6 month permission regardless of whether or not the appeal process has been completed.

If your appeal is successful and you have left the State due to the expiry of your 6-month permission you must apply for an Employment Permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and be in receipt of this document before re-entering the State to take up the employment.

Read more about the Atypical Working Scheme.


If you have questions, contact us.

Updated: 07 September 2017

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