Destination Ireland: Assignment Considerations
Destination Ireland: Assignment Considerations

Destination Ireland: Assignment Considerations

Mobility Trends and Hot Topics

Published: Feb 24, 2022

Diverse Destination Ireland

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year, we are examining assignments to the Republic of Ireland, where images of medieval castles among emerald-green hills, ocean-side cliffs and lively pubs come to mind.

While all are accurate descriptions, Ireland is much more than that today.

Once a poor European country, the island nation is a member of the European Union and ranks 27th in GDP according to the 2021 International Monetary Fund. Ireland is also the European base of operations to over 1,000 leading multinational companies -- including most of the world’s most well-known social media, technology, professional services, financial, pharmaceutical, and medical devices companies. During COVID-19, parts of Ireland's economy continued to grow, while others were devastated.

The vibrant capital and business center, Dublin is home to about 40 percent of the country's 5 million citizens. More than once, it was voted the friendliest European city and has a multilingual culture with about one in four residents speaking a second language. Ireland’s art and music culture is world-class, and most assignees feel it is very safe to walk around.

Assignments to the “Emerald Isle”

Like other assignment destinations, the more preparation and expectation setting, the more seamless, cost-effective, and productive an Ireland move will be. Consider the following adaptation considerations for employees headed to Ireland:

  • Living Costs: The country has the second highest price level for consumer goods and services in the European Union, at 34 percentage points above average, and was ranked by Numbeo in 2022 as the world’s 16th most expensive country. When housing costs, such as rent, is included in the Numbeo rankings, Ireland moves up to 13th globally. Most goods are imported, so everyday necessities carry a heavy price tag. Ireland’s childcare is the third most expensive in Europe (an average of €771 per month) and public transport costs in Ireland’s capital are reported as more expensive than other EU cities. Deutsche Bank research placed Dublin as the second most expensive European city (London was first) for a monthly public transport pass. Luckily, Dublin is pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly with continued development of cycle lanes.
  • Housing Costs: Housing and energy costs here are an extraordinary 84 percent higher than the EU average. Dublin remains in the top five most expensive cities to rent in Europe, according to the latest Accommodation Ranking report by ECA International.  Of the 10 most expensive cities in Europe according to Expatistan’s cost of living index, Dublin rose from the ninth position in 2020 to the fifth position among the most expensive cities in Europe in September 2021. This is largely due to high rents -- particularly in the Grand Canal Dock neighborhood (“Silicon Docks”), home to European headquarters of companies like Google, Facebook, and Airbnb. Rents in Dublin rose by more than 4 percent in just the three months at the end of 2021 – the fastest quarterly increase in seven years. The average rent in Dublin is estimated to be €2,056, up 8.9 percent year-on-year and increases were just as steep across other cities with a year-on-year jump of 6.3 percent in Cork, 8.8 percent in Galway, 10.3 percent in Limerick and 11.3 percent in Waterford.
  • Schools: The quality between Irish public and private institutions is very similar as the country has high educational standards. Schools often have waiting lists to get in, so assignees should plan to sign children up for a school, or multiple schools, as soon as possible to avoid stress/delays. Schools also give priority to children with siblings in the same school and most, both public and private, require uniforms. Parents should be prepared to spend €250 per year on this.
  • Wait Times: According to TripAdvisor, Ireland is the second-best country in the world at providing excellent service and hospitality, but expats comment people have a habit of showing up late. Expats can expect delays at Dublin’s rush hour on public transport and, if driving, traffic congestion – just as one will find in any European assignment city. Assignees may grumble about bureaucracy, but they should be reminded to have patience since some things happen slowly and in their own time there.
  • Proximity: No matter where they live, many assignees report they can enjoy the proximity to nature and easy access to beautiful and remote areas. There is a variety of cities, mountains, and coastal cliffs – all within a short drive -- and easy flights to the UK and EU.
  • Weather: It’s no secret that the weather’s better in the south of Ireland and that greater Dublin lacks abundant sunshine, but rain and wind can be common countrywide. Assignees should have warm, waterproof jackets and umbrellas at hand -- and remember it’s rain that makes Ireland so green! Adjusting to the frequently changing weather is common feedback from returning expats, but most say: “It’s not the Irish weather, it’s how you dress for it.”

Assessments & Cost Estimates

Known as “the land of a hundred thousand welcomes”, assignees feel they should easily settle into Ireland after arriving, but just because it is a mainly English-speaking nation one should not assume it will be easy. Make sure relocating employees / families are ready.  

As with any destination, advance preparation is important and conducting pre-candidate assessments and cost estimates can help everyone. The right approach is driven by your unique global talent management culture. NEI develops programs that best meet your needs and goals, acting as an extension of client Talent Mobility & Acquisition efforts.  This can include customized pre-decision assistance programs, a full benefit briefing and other authorized support services, such as assessment tools focused on specific needs. 

NEI also provides an online cost estimate tool which is customized based on our client’s individual policies, offering clients an immediate approximation of costs associated with any move or assignment. International cost estimates can be tailored to include estimated taxes associated with home, host, and hypothetical withholdings, as applicable.

Visa and Immigration Expertise

While not extremely difficult, it can take time for visa/work permit approvals to go through in Ireland for non-EU citizens. NEI’s goal is to protect clients and their employees working outside their home countries from the risks of non-compliance. Together, with the selected visa and immigration service partner, NEI manages the fully outsourced immigration process for many clients as an integrated solution -- adjusting the exact communication and coordination process per each company’s unique preference.

Global Solutions for Each Situation

NEI provides solutions from our Americas, EMEA and APAC regional offices and Global Partner Alliance network of service partners. With our first international move occurring in 1986, our geographic reach extends worldwide and helps each of our global clients – whether in Ireland or anywhere else.

If you have questions or would like further information, please contact your NEI representative or Mollie Ivancic, NEI VP, International Services.