Stamp 3 Reform: Lack of awareness prevents Ireland from having access to a skilled talent pool.

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

What is Stamp 3? It is a visa stamp given by the Irish immigration authorities (INIS) to dependants of non-EU work permit holders in Ireland, these dependants could be anyone from grandparent, children to spouses. 


Who are the Stamp 3 reform campaigners?

These are talented, highly skilled individuals, equipped with third level qualifications who accompanied their spouses to Ireland, with the hope that with their skill set, they will be able to find a job and contribute equally to the Irish economy. However, post arriving in Ireland, they soon realised that not only recruiters were unaware of the rights of Stamp 3 holders, but recruiters were not even interested in entertaining anyone other than a Stamp 4 or an EU passport holder.

Stamp 3 holders cannot work, yet they can get a work permit free of charge! Funny isn’t it?

  • They can apply for a permit in respect of all occupations, including certain carers in the home, and excluding all other occupations in a domestic setting.

  • They can apply for a permit with any remuneration, but not less than the National Minimum Wage.

  • Their prospective employer is not required to undertake a Labour Market Needs Test

"Ireland is one of the only countries in the EU which does not allow spouses or partners of highly-skilled workers to have direct access to employment and self-employment." - Sorcha Pollak, IrishTimes.  

What are Stamp 3 holders proposing? 

Short-term - Educating employers/recruiters and greater clarity in the State’s policy on Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s website.

Medium-term - An introduction of a new stamp, for instance ‘Stamp 3F’, or directly acknowledging more clearly the situation of dependent family members who have potential access to employment instead of a blanket prohibitive Stamp that deters prospective employers. - The dependant family members should not require an additional work permit to access the labour market as it creates an additional burden on the jobseeker and on the permit system as a whole. Rather, as they already have an existing permission to seek employment, they should only be required to register their employment. The time of registration should not exceed 2 weeks, to enable candidates to join an employer within 2-3 weeks of obtaining a formal offer of employment. This can both assist in the integration of workers and their families while reducing the burden on DBEI.

Long-term - Ireland should adopt the European Blue Card system. The Blue Card system is an immigration permission used by most EU Member States to attract highly skilled workers, which grants them and their immediate family members right to work.


"A few months ago, I started an online group as a support forum in the absence of clear information being available to this category. Soon, the group grew to around 1300 members and that's when the magnitude of the issue struck me. I came across persons who have lived in Ireland for a far longer time than I had and I found a shared sentiment of hopelessness that impacted the overall well being of many families, delayed integration in the Irish society and left a highly qualified talent pool that can be useful to a rapidly growing Irish economy disengaged and questioning their decision to relocate to Ireland instead of any other country with better rights for spouses, partners and dependents of non-EEA professionals." says Ankita Alhuwalia, one of the founders of this campaign. 


The Irish economy is set to continue to grow and within this context there is a serious shortage of skilled people to fill jobs. Employee recruitment and retention are becoming critical business challenges. Show your support by signing this petition:

Stamp 3 Ireland reform group successfully submitted their online petition to the Government on 27th November 2018 and garnered support of many distinguished Oireachtas members.

The issue was later discussed in the Senate (Upper House) by Senator Neale Richmond


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