BREXIT – Currently your rights and entitlements as EU citizens continue unchanged.
Please click HERE for updates on the future implications of Brexit.

Migrant workers in Northern Ireland

If you are coming to Northern Ireland (NI) to work there are a number of rights, responsibilities and obligations depending on where you are coming from.

European Economic Area (EEA)

As an EU/EEA national working in Northern Ireland, you are entitled to exactly the same rights as NI citizens with regard to social welfare, employment rights  and social rights in general. As soon as you come to NI you should register for tax and social insurance by applying for a National Insurance number. If you need help finding a job you can get advice on employment and training opportunities from the Jobs and Benefit offices –

Please note that some exceptions apply to countries that have recently joined the EU.

Outside the European Economic Area

In general a non-EEA national requires an employment permit to take up employment in NI. It should be noted that it is an offence for both an employer and an employee if a non-EEA National is in employment without an appropriate employment permit.

Once you have been issued with an employment permit you have all the employment rights of NI or EU citizens for the duration of the employment permit.

For further information on visas and work permits please visit the UK Border Agency website –

Cross-border issues

Working across the border

  • EU nationals are entitled to look for work across the border.
  • For non-EU nationals entitlement to work on one side of the border does not automatically entitle workers to work on the other.
  • The National Insurance number is only valid in Northern Ireland.
  • The PPS Number is only valid in the Republic of Ireland.

Travelling to / through the Republic of Ireland

When travelling into the South there are a number of important points to note.

  • EU nationals are entitled to travel freely throughout the island of Ireland, North and South. .
  • It is very important that non-EU nationals ensure that they have the appropriate travel visa / work visa before crossing the border.  (Entitlement to work on one side of the border does not automatically entitle workers to travel into the other jurisdiction.)  Those without the appropriate documentation may be detained by Immigration control


The following useful guides are available for download from the Law Centre (NI) website:

  • My Rights – a guide for Bulgarian and Romanian students and self employed people
  • Your Rights In Northern Ireland – A Guide for Migrant Workers

See also

Useful contacts:


South Tyrone Empowerment Programme,  The Junction, 12 Beechvalley Way, Dungannon, BT70 1BS

Telephone:  028 87750211


Step NI
 Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
Temple Court, 39 North Street, Belfast BT1 1NA ,
Telephone (028) 9024 3987
 Law Centre (NI)
124 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2GY,  T
elephone (028) 9024 4401
Updated:  September 2017