Image: Helen McEntee (via Twitter.)

Atypical Worker Scheme processes immigration applications for frontline doctors and nurses and supports key sectors of the economy

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee TD, is today pleased to announce that the Atypical Worker Scheme (AWS) is the latest immigration scheme to move to an online application process.

Since March 2020, the AWS unit has processed over 700 applications for frontline doctors and nurses. It has also supported other key sectors of the economy, including pharma and biomedical manufacturing.

The move is part of the continuing implementation of the Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020 for Immigration Service Delivery (formerly known as INIS).

Welcoming the launch of the AWS online application, Minister McEntee said:

Driving the digital agenda across the Justice sector is one of my main ministerial priorities. In the coming months, I will publish a digital strategy for our immigration services but I am pleased that progress is already being made by the Immigration Service Delivery.

The AWS provides a streamlined mechanism to deal with atypical, short term employment situations, including those where skill shortages have been identified or where there is a critical need to provide specialised high skills to an industry, business or academic institution.

Ensuring that employers can be confident that such applications are processed in the most efficient and effective manner possible is crucial to maintaining our competitive advantage, especially in these challenging times.

The launch of the AWS online application process is a clear statement of intent from the Department that the Immigration Service is open for business and is focused on playing its part in ensuring the State overcomes the significant challenges arising from Covid-19.

People can apply for the AWS online at


What is the AWS?

The Department of Justice (Immigration Service Delivery), in agreement with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, administers the Atypical Worker Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide a streamlined mechanism to deal with atypical, short term employment or certain other employment situations which are not governed by the Employment Permits Acts or by current administrative procedures under the Employment Permits Acts

Who can use it?

The Atypical Worker Scheme applies to non-EEA nationals who, in certain circumstances, are required by a company/organisation based in the State to undertake work –

1.       where a skill shortage has been identified;

2.       to provide a specialised or high skill to an industry, business or academic institution;

3.       to facilitate waged/funded short term employment/internship where beneficial or integral/necessary to the Course being studied in respect of 3rd level students studying outside the State in approved/accredited institutions (medical and unwaged/ unfunded internships are not permissible);

4.       as a Locum Doctor (employed and paid by an Agency – Hospital Sector or Primary Care Sector (General Practice));

5.       Nurses Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme/RCSI Examination;

6.       As a paid researcher for up to 90 days (non-renewable). For other permission to work as a researcher

Use of Scheme

Applications approved and refused in 2019

Nurses (RCSI/Clinical Adaptation)183768
Locum GPs1426
Locum Hospital Doctors192
Gulf Doctors441
Seafarers (new)827
Seafarers (renewal)14524


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