MAKING THE MOVE
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
CARE); and even
checked out buying a car tax free (see COST
And you've decided to move to Ireland.
Here are some other items to help you make the move.
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
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:
Work permits will be granted without the need to establish that there is no
suitable Irish/European Economic Area/Swiss national available
||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
||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
||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.
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.