I am aiming to dedicate as much time as I can writing about my experience under the WHV (working holiday visa) programs. Even if you are not planning to be in the program, you can still read on:
I’m Australian and I am currently in Ireland on a working holiday visa. For Australians, the arrangements allows me to work for 6 months and live up to 12 months. I’ve been working and living across a few different countries since 2012 and this is my third – the first being for the UK (2 year visa) and second being Canada (2 year visa). The biggest difference is the timeframe and this difference has made things quiet a challenge!
My professional background is in tech and marketing.
My Irish Working Holiday Visa Process
I have been in contact with the Irish DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) since early this year enquiring about my visa application. At that time, there was a stipulation that applicants must be in Australia. Since I was residing in Canada at the time, this would be inconvenient. However, I was able to send my application to the Irish embassy in Australia after having my passport sighted at the Australian consulate in Toronto. I mailed my application mid August, and had a response that my application was successful within about three weeks which was early September. Despite this, they still had to mail my documents which took another few weeks.
The application process was really straightforward. The biggest irk I had been a recipient of was the lateness of receiving my documents. My documents ended up arriving on the day of my flight to Dublin.
Job hunting before arriving in Dublin
After my work authorization was approved and before my documents arrived, I decided to have a look at the job ads. Keep in mind that unlike many of the expats that move, they generally do things the other way around – they obtain the job offer and visa first and then relocate. There were quiet a few for Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Limerick. This is pretty much the first time I have ever looked at the job market in Ireland. My first impression – discomfort. I compared the availability of work to what is available in Canada. But the discomfort somehow subsided. In terms of volume, it won’t be like the much bigger Canadian (and overall, North American) markets. I took a few tentative steps at applying at received responses back. So far, so good. I slowly warmed up to the prospect of looking for work in Ireland. I was initially going to move early 2017 and after the Canadian winter but decided sooner rather than later is a good time.
House hunting before arriving in Dublin
I had a list of areas to narrow down the search. The plan was to arrange viewings within 1-3 weeks of first contact. I did get responses back, but the viewing dates that they offered was almost immediate – they only have a few days’ notice. I decided to wait until I arrived.
Getting to Dublin
Flying to Dublin from Toronto was very straight-forward and I had a 13 hour stop-over in St John’s. I actually wanted to have two stop overs – one in Halifax and another in St John’s as my last leg of Canadian travel. However things got really busy in the lead up to my flight and there was no way I could have enjoyed the trip. I couldn’t wait to land in Dublin.
I did manage to grab one last box of Tim Horton’s donuts as a gift!
Arrived in Dublin! Now settling in…
You will need to register and obtain your GNIB card. Underneath the new system, you can be caught waiting several weeks for an appointment.
Since registration is now allowed prior to arriving in Dublin, make sure to do this as soon as you arrive. Here’s a writeup of my experience with the system.
You will also need to apply for your PPSN.
One of the irks that I came across when opening a new bank account is proving that my new address is in this country. I recommend calling or approaching the bank to see what types of documents that they accept. I don’t recommend reaching out online or relying on unofficial information.
Once your bank account is sorted, it should be a lot more straightforward in setting up a paper trail to prove that you are now living in Ireland. A few other entries out there (such as suitventure.com) have other ideas to show proof of address.
Housing (including utilities, water, gas, etc)
Housing in Dublin is a very tricky thing to navigate. If your main priority is maintaining a standard of living in newly built and modern houses and/or houses that you find in capital cities in Australia or in areas in Canada I highly recommend doing a lot of research into the housing in Dublin. Having lived in London, I had an inkling of what to expect with housing in Dublin, but even then I was still surprised.
When I first arrived in London in 2012, someone said that it is easier to find a job in London than it is to find housing. I can say definitely that it is far easier to find a job in Dublin than it is to find housing here. The main difference is that in London, while there is a lot of competition for housing but there are varying gradients of housing that you have access to. In Dublin, there is a lot of competition for housing and very few varieties.
Even if I threw a lot of money into the rent here, it’s still not going to be enough. The cost to rent here defies common sense – the price is just not because the quality is better, the location more convenient or anything like that. It’s simply high because of the shortage of housing units in Dublin.
Fortunately, my housing is already sorted out before I arrived here, I don’t have much to offer in terms of further advice on housing in Dublin. Since I am only here for up to 12 months (and can only work for up to 6 months) getting a place to stay would be a mammoth task should I be required to move.
Showing proof of address
If you are not sure that your proof of address document is going to be accepted, I highly recommend getting in touch with the business or organization first.
If it’s a government organization, they usually have their requirements stated on the website.
Dublin has a lot of choices in terms of shopping and outside of the city centre, there is also the Dundrum shopping centre near the Rathmines. You will run into a lot more goods from Europe which is a detail that I am really enjoying when I compare to the choices available here versus what is available in Canada and Australia.
If you don’t have winter items at hand you can grab thermals, fleece blankets, and other winter wear at Penneys or Marks & Spencers. You can bulk up on winter clothes at those places and also TK Maxx (kind of like Winners in Canada). There are also a lot of other department stores and brands – House of Fraser (high-end), Brown Thomas (high-end), BT2 (high-end), Debenhams, Dunnes, Arnotts and a lot of other known brands. I already brought with me my winter clothes from Canada.
For groceries, I like Aldi, Lidl, Marks and Spencer and Tesco.
If you shop online keep in mind that you also have to pay those additional customs and other duties and fees if you are shopping outside of the EU. Here’s a writeup from Revenue.ie here.
A majority of my plugs are North American and I have a lot of electronics and hardware with me. In terms of voltage difference, not much of an issue so long as it can do dual voltage.
You can go to Maplin and get a power charger cable with the UK/Ireland plug and replace it with the power adaptor. There is also a universal power strip available online but make sure the originator is from the EU.
Health and medical
I caught the cold/flu virus and was ill for a few weeks and it was straight forward to get an appointment. Medication and other supplies are found in dedicated pharmacist stores. Australia and Ireland have a reciprocal health agreement for certain services also.
My appointment with the doctor was about 48 euros.Social life, nights out, meetups etc
I haven’t really gotten stuck into meet ups and events in my first month since I was taken ill. But I have signed up to events for the balance of November and throughout December.
Travel all around Ireland and elsewhere in the UK and Europe
I did a fair bit of travelling in 2012 and saw many of the key sites. I don’t have any plans to do further travel in Ireland until the weather warms up.
As for the UK and Europe, I have a flight booked for London for a weekend. I don’t have anything solid planned yet!
Working in Ireland
While my current role was not via recruiters, I have found that the recruiters here are professional in their roles and also transparent with the process and their feedback.
Overall, I have had some good responses from recruiters and hiring managers for positions in Dublin and elsewhere including Cork and Wexford. This was a surprise since I do state that I am on the working holiday visa program.
In addition, I also do require being able to continue to work in my industry and in professional roles. The 6 month visa timeframe pretty much limited my choices (and a big reason for my initial discomfort). Be warned that even if a role was contract, you can still be discounted in case it’s an initial-contract or rolling contract type of role.
However, once you have a professional role locked in, it’s a possible step into obtaining the Critical Skills Employment Permit programme providing that you take the correct steps in the first place. I think this is where an immigration lawyer is very useful or at least, read up as much as you can about immigration law and what is possible.
Interested in working in Ireland? Or are you Irish and interested in working in Canada or Australia?
If you have any questions feel free to contact me here.
Please note that I do not offer migration consultant services, and that I do not accept invitations to do private calls with anyone concerning their migration issue.
Also note that this post is not migration advice and that details can change.