The In’s and Out’s of Moving to Ireland

Pre Planning 

Prior to moving to Ireland, I had done my fair share of research on accommodation, culture, jobs etc., to help prepare me for the move. I read a lot about how in Dublin it was tough to find accommodation and that Cork had a more options at more reasonable prices. I did all I could to ensure that I wouldn’t be screwed over once I got there (I am somewhat anal and OCD about that kinda stuff). Some of the things I had come across online such as difficulties around affordable housing and how Ireland was slowly coming back from a recession which would make it hard to find a job, were true to some extent.

The Arrival

When I first arrived in Dublin, I had completed all the paperwork/documents that USIT provided to me. They helped me a great deal with any questions that I had about bank accounts, accommodation, PPS# etc. I felt that if I were more prepared, the less scary the orientation would be and I could spend more time listening and asking appropriate questions instead of feeling anxious. My biggest take away from the welcome orientation with USIT was to be organized! Prior to leaving your home country –  make sure you have your meeting with the GARDA bureau scheduled (appointments are essential in Dublin – and they allow bookings to be made up to 6 weeks in advance. Cork allows for walk-ins and is usually less busy). The GARDA appointment took almost 2 hours (even with an appointment) and cost €300 only payable by credit card. They ask you a few questions and take your photo and then issue you the GNIB card. This card is important as it allows you to legally work in the country and you can start to look for work right away.


However, Ireland still requires you to apply for your PPS# as well (think of it as a Social Insurance Number). This # is crucial because it puts you into their tax system, which allows them to keep track of your income, in which then they can tax you accordingly. A lot of employers prefer that you have this number already, because it is a bit of a hassle to hire someone who doesn’t have one. In order to do this properly, once you get your PPS#, you have to go to and fill out a tax certificate form in which you answer quite a few questions ( and then they issue your employer a tax certificate. When they get this tax certificate in the mail (they like to do everything by post), that is when they will be able to take you off of emergency tax.

Finding Work

The first thing I would recommend doing after you’ve received your GNIB card is to look for a job. Send out as many CVs you can, as that’ll give you more chances to receive an email back from someone. USIT was very helpful in fine tuning my CV (CV formats differ from country to country). The USIT office also had plenty of job listings posted in their office. The faster you find a job, the quicker you will be able to apply for a PPS#; since it is required that you have a job offer letter from an employer stating that you have been offered a job and will be working with that company. 


Most employers will not know all the information that is needed on the job offer letter, so it is important to let them know exactly what you need them to write in order to make the offer letter valid. The Intreo office is in the city centre of Cork and is open during regular office hours. You walk in, take a number and meet with someone to make sure you have all the appropriate documents. The proof of address can be given in a form of a utility bill OR a utility bill with the landlord’s name or an approved letter by USIT. You CANNOT get a PPS number without a proof of address. 


Accommodation sign with a beautiful day

When I first arrived in Cork, I had arranged a stay with a fellow participant who I met through the Facebook group. I chose this option instead of staying at a hostel because I wanted privacy and I didn’t want to look for a job while living out of a hostel. Also, it was much cheaper and felt more “homey” if you will. Once we were settled in, I began looking for a job right away. Luckily, I was able to find a job in just over a week. This was possible because there are plenty of jobs in the  hospitality industry. Once I started my job, I asked for a job offer letter right away. This was because I had gone to see many house showings but were quickly turned down due to the fact that my boyfriend and I both did not have jobs yet. Obviously, not many landlords would be comfortable with tenants who did not have jobs. The main websites that I used to look for accommodation was and I emailed as many listings as I could and went to as many showings as I could. The market at the moment is ridiculous. Luckily, after a week and a half of searching, we found a landlord who was happy with only one of us having a job and allowed us to move in. We got a 6 bedroom house right in the city centre. However, it is a shared house with 6 other people. This may sound crazy, but the house is big enough with more than enough space and is renovated new with added bathrooms/en suites. BUT – our rent is incredibly high still (This is the reality of the housing crisis at the moment). If I could give some advice, it would be to join a group on Facebook about finding housing in Ireland and there are people who are posting about looking for flatmates regularly. Be prepared to live with other people. Be prepared to pay a lot for rent. And be prepared to look outside of the city for accommodation. Whatever you decide, just do not get discouraged and continue to look until you find a place. Cork is not that big and you can get to most places walking in 30 mins or less. Once you find a place, you might have to pay for additional fees such as refuse (garbage/recycling), electricity and wifi and cable. These expenses are not always covered by the landlord/owner. Now that I’ve been settled into my place for a month now, I can honestly say I love it and it’s really starting to feel like home. We bought some things to decorate our room and all of our housemates clean/friendly. Luckily, we had an option of signing either a 6 month or 12 month lease. Some places require a minimum of 12 months, but a lot of people find other tenants to take over their lease over if need be. Now, the reason I was so eager to find a place was because I knew I needed a proof of address for  my PPS #. Also, in order to open a bank account – you need a proof of address and that requires a letter from revenue in which you can only get once you get your PPS #. Finally, I registered my PPS # with revenue and received a letter from them with my NAME and ADDRESS (valid for the bank) and my employer received a tax certificate in which they were finally able to take me off emergency tax. So, as you can see, this step is critical. Also, when I made the appointment for the PPS #, it was made for 2 weeks later. So be prepared to have to wait a bit for the bank account. So, the quicker you get all this done, the better. I arrived in Cork on August 3rd, and started my job on August 10th. I moved into my house on August 12th and received my PPS # on August 23rd. I received my letter from from revenue and opened my bank account on September 4th (but didn’t get my card in the Post until September 12th). So, all in all, even with preparation and research – it still took me roughly a month to settle in and get all my ducks in order.

This can be stressful, but if you’re organized and prepared financially (such as having some extra money to live off of while you look for a job) will be very helpful! Once it’s all dealt with, it finally starts to feel real and you can enjoy your hard earned money!


Blog Post By Current Work in Ireland Participant: Michelle To.

Keep up with Michelle’s Ireland Adventures on her Blog: Just Swell. 


New Views

“I’m not a traveller, or more accurately I’m not someone who has had the chance to travel until recently. Before Ireland I backpacked, have lived in multiple Canadian provinces, camped alone in the wilderness, and have been to the top of multiple mountains (mostly in British Columbia). But I’d never left the country, so moving to Ireland I had no idea what to expect.

Thank god for USIT. Sure I could have gone about getting a visa through the normal embassy channels, but having started that route, this saved me a headache and so much more.

Having the constant support available to me is a load off of my shoulders. Though I haven’t used all of the resources available to me yet, just knowing that they’re there is huge.

Through the Work in Ireland Program I have access to a large group of people, some with so much experience to share, and available at any time to answer questions. The USIT team is constantly updating the group, letting us know about any meetups, job vacancies, or other relevant information, it’s an advantage I never would have had if I had done this on my own, it might cost more, but you really get what you pay for.

cork 2

Since coming to Ireland I’ve done a lot of the touristy things. Giant’s Causeway, Blarney castle, and the Rock of Dunamase were all amazing. However in the last few months after getting a bike, the real treasure for me has been cycling. Travelling primarily (so far) all over Cork County, and seeing not just the main sites, but the hidden gems. Ireland has so many of them, when I leave here if I regret anything, it’ll be not getting the chance to explore every nook I could find.

The perfect example in fact happened only a few weeks ago. It wasn’t a half bad day out, windy as usual, but otherwise great weather for a bike ride, so I headed out, wanting to check out Ringaskiddy and Carrigaline.


After coming down Carrs hill,  I ended up passing through Shanbally, completely by accident. It’s tiny, as in only a handful of houses, that all together might not fill up a hockey rink, and definitely the first time the the word ‘quaint’ has ever organically popped into my head.

Soon after that, on the edge of Ringaskiddy I came across Barnahely Castle, totally overgrown and abandoned, blocked off by fences, but awesome to look at.


It’s things like these I’m learning to appreciate about Ireland, yeah Canada has incredible sites, and beautiful views, however we lack any relatively old history. You can’t walk up to a building and say wow, humans have lived in this place for 500 years. Or go up to a castle and think to yourself about the thousand years of history that went into building, maintaining, and sometimes even trying to destroy that thing you’re looking at, or standing in.


A love for this is something I might not have found if I hadn’t come here, and something I’ll get to keep with me for the rest of my life. Well worth every bit of work it took to get here.

So if you’re new to Ireland, or thinking about coming here, do it! For anyone already here? Put down the tourist books, turn off your GPS, and just wander, you might be missing all the best stuff.”

Blog Post and imagery by Work in Ireland Participant Brandon Mayovsky. Check out more of Brandon’s adventures here: