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MAKING THE MOVE

So you've:

• obtained any necessary tax advice (see TAXES);
• been over to get a feel for the climate (see IRISH WEATHER) and arrange for a place to live (see ACCOMMODATION);
• learned about the requirements for medical insurance (see HEALTH CARE); and even
• checked out buying a car tax free (see COST OF LIVING).

And you've decided to move to Ireland.

Here are some other items to help you make the move.

www.citizensinformation.ie: First and foremost, among the many Web sites that will help you is Oasis - an e-Government resource that provides information including contact details for public services, including registration and work permit requirements to be met by those moving to Ireland, automobile registration and driver's licence requirements, and much, much more. Some of the discussion below includes excerpts from this site, however, it should be consulted directly for the complete, current particulars for any matter pertaining to compliance with Irish regulations or other decision making.

Registering in Ireland

GNIB "Green" Card. If you come to Ireland for more than three months you must register with An Garda Siochana (the national police force, 'the Garda') and obtain a GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) card. This Card indicates one of four "stamp" categories: has a work permit; is a student; is not entitled to study or work in Ireland (a retiree, for example); and other - a broad category that includes spouse of an Irish citizen, refugee status, etc.

To register, simply contact the Garda office in your area when you arrive. The process is very simple. On presentation of the necessary documents: your passport and evidence of your address and your financial and health care self-sufficiency, your picture will be taken, your GNIB card will be produced 'on the spot' and your passport will be stamped with the appropriate stamp. The stamp will indicate an expiry date; when that date arrives you simply repeat the process to obtain a renewal (if you qualify for it). In Dublin, where most Canadian ex-pats register, you simply show up at the Garda facility on Burgh Quay in the heart of the city - no appointment necessary.

PPS registration
. A second Irish registration to be made when you move to Ireland is the Personal Public Services registration. The PPS number, which is similar to the Canadian Social Insurance number, is necessary for a wide range of purposes: for tax matters, to obtain a driver's licence, to access public health services - the list is a long one.

This registration is made at your local Social Welfare Office. You will need to fill out an application and, as you will be asked to do so often in Ireland, provide photo ID and evidence of your address.

Work permits
. Subject to certain specific exceptions, a non-European Economic Area/non-Swiss national who wishes to work in Ireland must have a work permit. Work permits are issued by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and must be applied for by the prospective employer on the employee's behalf. If you have a work permit and wish to change employment, the new employer must apply for a new permit and you cannot start the new job until the new permit is issued. (Note that there are special provisions where one loses a job because of redundancy.) The fees charged for a work permit depend on its duration.

Exceptions to the work permit requirement include:

a post-graduate student where the work is an integral part of their course of study;
a person with permission to stay in the country because he/she is the spouses of  Irish citizen or the parent of an Irish citizen; and

a person coming to Ireland from an overseas company for a maximum period of  three years for training, whether or not it entails paid work, at an Irish-based  company.

Work permits will be granted without the need to establish that there is no suitable Irish/European Economic Area/Swiss national available to:

a doctor who has full medical registration from the Irish Medical Council and who has been offered a specified position in a hospital recognized by the Irish Medical Council;
an entertainer (including back up and film crew members) who is coming to Ireland to perform at a particular event;
a professional sportsperson;
a participant in a recognized exchange program;
a person on corporate transfer/secondment for a maximum of four years to an establishment or undertaking in Ireland that is owned by a company or group that operates in more than one state; and
a person entitled to take up employment in Ireland under the terms of any international bilateral agreement ratified by Ireland.

Also of note is that it is a primary condition of entry for students that they are in a position to maintain themselves while studying in Ireland. This has allowed them to be able to work in casual employment (up to 20 hours per week or full-time during holiday periods) without having a work permit. From April 18, 2005, NEW students given permission to remain in Ireland for study will only be given permission to take up casual employment if they are attending a full-time course of at least a year leading to a recognized qualification.

Shipping Things

What to bring. Shipping is costly and you may have decided to give away, sell or otherwise dispose of everything in Canada and start afresh in Ireland. But hold on. Bringing over favourite furniture, artworks and the like can help to ease the transition to your new life. And if you're going to ship some things, why not include your best linens, dishes, cutlery and other familiar things. The reality is that if you needed something in Canada you'll need it in Ireland, too. Just wait until you've made the move and are looking for something as mundane as a paper clip or an elastic band, or a hammer to hang a picture. And if there's extra space in the container, fill it with personal and household goods, keeping in mind the storage capacity you will have in Ireland and that the quantities must be reasonable for your personal and household needs. The long list of such items would include clothing, toiletries and things like paper products, which are very much more expensive in Ireland.

When it comes to appliances, bring those that have a heating element but NOT a motor. Adaptors for the former are compact and inexpensive; for the latter, they're too expensive and too big. Buying new smaller appliances won't be a major problem. Sadly, however, you'll have to go to the expense of buying a North American-style washer and dryer in Ireland if you want to avoid the frustrations of the worst of European appliances. The capacity of European washers and dryers is small and they take forever to produce their wrinkled output. Permanent press things you used to just smooth and fold will require ironing.

Shipping arrangements. Having decided what to ship, you need to master the world of shipping arrangements. Be tough here. Don't rely on a mover's self-proclaimed reputation (do they ever show you the complaint letters?). Insist that the mover indicate, in writing, all the paperwork requirements you'll have to meet to make damage/loss claims and obtain Irish Customs clearances.

Insurers won't insure unless you provide them with a complete list of everything you're shipping, together with cost and replacement cost data. Customs requirements include evidence that you have a current residence in Ireland and that you were not resident in the EU in the year prior to moving to Ireland. Utility bills and a copy of your lease will indicate that you have taken up residence in Ireland. Utility bills, property tax assessments and the like will prove your Canadian residency.

Another thing about being prepared to document damage/loss claims and for Customs purposes: to avoid 'Catch 22' situations, don't put your inventory listings and other shipping documents and proofs of residence, etc. in your shipment. Keep them with your luggage.

Just as crucial, be present when the Canadian movers pack your things and when the Irish movers unpack them. To be accountable for your things, the former will justifiably want to pack them; but you will have to sign the related forms they prepare.

Similarly, the Irish movers your Canadian mover will arrange will have you sign for the receipt of every carton and its contents. Likely as not, those sheets will be thrust under your nose just as it's time for them to leave for the day - possibly with boxes left for you to finish unpacking. Be fastidious about this because, should there be a problem, the Irish movers will not behave as agents on behalf of your Canadian shipper, but will tell you that you have to deal directly with the ocean-away Canadian shipper and the insurer it arranged.

Passports for Pets. A sure way to ease the transition would seem to be to bring your family pets with you. However, the importation of pets into Ireland has always been strictly controlled to ensure that diseases such as rabies are not introduced into the country.

A new harmonized EU system of "Passports for Pets", which allows cats, dogs and ferrets to travel between EU Member States came into effect in Ireland in 2004.

Canada is a qualifying third (non-EU) country for purposes of this system. This allows the owners of Canadian pets who meet the stated provisions to import their pets into Ireland without having to have them quarantined for six months, as was formerly the case. That quarantine requirement continues to apply to those pets for whom the passport requirements have not been met. For more information see www.citizensinformation.ie.

Making yourself at home. A great way to meet "others who will know what you're going through" as well as Irish folks who have lived in Canada or have some other special connection with it is to join the Irish Canadian Society. It's also a good idea to register with the Canadian embassy in Dublin and have the comfort of knowing that its there for you when you need it. See ICS MEMBERSHIP.

 

 

 
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