Thursday, November 10, 2016

Getting a Job and Living in Ireland: The Trump Effect

The backlash from Trump’s recent win was anticipated. Yet I’m astounded at the tidal wave of queries I’ve received about working and living in Ireland from American’s who are more than a little perturbed by the election's outcome.

Due to simple demand, I’ve put together a list of rules and websites that should answer a couple of often-asked questions: As an American, can I get a job in Ireland and live there? If so, how do I go about that process?

Before moving to these answers I would encourage any would-be immigrant to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and reflect on what such a move might entail. Having lived in this country for 34 years now, I will be the first to tell you that an immigrant’s life is hard work. Though the Irish speak English, don’t think for a minute that the culture will be the same as what you experience in Peoria Illinois, Walnut Creek California, or Boston Massachusetts. This is a fascinating country of contradictions: a wonderful people who can still be deeply misunderstood by outsiders simply because you’re not Irish and have not grown up here. Depending on where you live, you might feel the place insular and foreign. Loneliness due to separation from friends and family is common. Making a living here can be difficult even with a good job because taxes are high and the cost of living even higher.

But I make no bones about it: despite the difficulties I’m happy with my life here. Even happier when I think of what may happen to my fellow countrymen and women in Trump’s ‘Great America’. If you’d like to know more about living the life of an immigrant in Ireland you might want to read my book, A Survivor’s Guide to Living in Ireland which gives much deeper insight. 

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the rules for getting a job and residency in this fine country. As I’ve alluded, over the past two days I have seen a spike on this Blog of Americans wishing to move to – and work in – Ireland. For that reason I found it prudent to post this guide. However, first a warning: this is only a guide. Make sure you do your own research for accuracy because employment and residency legislation can change instantly. A good place to start for general information is: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/moving_to_ireland/working_in_ireland/coming_to_work_in_ireland.html

The Rules
In general, visitors to Ireland are allowed to stay in this country for 90 days. During that time they are not allowed to work. To live and work here for a longer period, there are a number of rules and requirements:

·         For non-EU citizens: Ireland is a member of the European Union. Citizens of EU member states are legally entitled to work and live in Ireland. Non-EU nationals do not have this right and must instead jump through many hoops.

·         If you are a foreign, non-EU student and studying in Ireland on an approved course: you may take up casual work without an employment permit, but only a maximum of 20 hours per week.

·         Working holiday agreements: Ireland has reciprocal agreements with a number of other countries including the United States, allowing non-EU nationals to stay in Ireland for longer than 90 days and work here. To do so you must apply for a Working Holiday Authorization. For more information go to https://www.dfa.ie/travel/visas/working-holiday-visas/

·         If you have Irish ancestry: Ireland has a ‘grandfather’ law. That is, if you can prove that your parents or grandparents were Irish you have the right to Irish citizenship. With citizenship comes the right to live and work in Ireland and anywhere in the EU. For more information go to http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/irish_citizenship/

·         Employment permits: Ireland has 9 types of employment permits. Some allow non-EU nationals to work and live in Ireland: General Employment Permits are usually considered for occupations with an annual remuneration of €30,000 or more. Critical Skills Employment Permits are available in a number of categories. To apply, the prospective employee must have a job offer. Upon receiving a permit your family will usually be eligible to join you. Go to http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/migrant_workers/employment_permits/green_card_permits.html for more information.

·         Obtaining Irish citizenship through marriage: foreign nationals who are married to Irish citizens can apply for naturalization. For more information go to http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/irish_citizenship/becoming_an_irish_citizen_through_marriage.html

·         Obtaining residency through civil partnership: if you can prove you are in a long-term relationship with an Irish citizen, you are legally allowed to apply for long-term residency.

·         Retired and desiring to reside in Ireland: you may be granted permission to reside in Ireland for the longer-term if you can prove that you have: an annual income equal to €50,000 per annum and; savings equal to the cost of buying a home in Ireland and; comprehensive private Irish-based medical insurance. If you can prove that you will not become a burden to the state you can apply for longer-termed residency. For more information go to http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/non-eea-permission.

      Gaining long-term permission to live and work in Ireland if you are not an EU national is tough work but not impossible. If you haven’t been to Ireland make sure you visit first. Check out the place. See if you think you can fit in and survive in Ireland as I have. If your answer is yes, if you are determined and focused, you could well end up living the Irish dream just as I have. I wish you so much luck. 

A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2015 Kindle Edition Now Available!
If this blog interests you, then you might want to know more about living and working in Ireland. Are you thinking of traveling to Irelandmoving to Irelandworking in Ireland? Do you want to understand what makes the Irish tick, how you can get a job here, and how to survive in this wonderful country? If so, consider purchasing the 2015 Kindle edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland. Over 11,000 have already done so! Now over 85,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for those interested in this wonderful country. Simply click on any of the above links to purchase the new 2015 Kindle edition. You can also download free apps to read the Kindle version on any PC or Mac. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Organic Gardening in Ireland: One Yank's New Life in the Soil

Organic gardening in Ireland has become more and more popular as people look to grow their own vegetables and fruit. Studies show that organically grown food has more minerals and nutrients than food grown with pesticides – and taste better. Growing organically can also cut the cost of food bills while helping to protect the health of those consuming them.

Since relocating to the beauty of West Cork Ireland, this erstwhile Yank has tried his hand at the organic life. Having never before grown a sausage, I’ve put three planters in my small back garden which overlooks the Atlantic, filled ‘em with soil, sewn in a goodly amount of local cattle dung, and prayed. 

The resulting crops of Irish spuds (usually Roosters), onions, strawberries, carrots, lettuces, and rhubarb – though of small quantities – give me immense satisfaction. And what a great result considering I really don’t know what I’m doing.

However, I’ve been in luck. On a recent trip to the United States I happened upon a fellow American who happens to be an expert in organic gardening. D. Keith Crotz, an American living in the great U.S. State of Illinois, has devoted much of his life to this area. With a Botony and History of Science degree from the University of Illinois (Champaign), then Graduate School at Southern Illinois University, Keith first worked as a botanist at one of the world’s greatest museums, Chicago’s Field Museum.

During the late 70’s and early 80s, his interest in growing green was piqued by attending a number of organic farming conferences. After that he started selling garden books, and developed a passion not only for organic growing but also for the preservation of America’s heritage seeds. During that recent stay in America we had the opportunity to chat a bit about the budding organic gardener in all of us – and he proffered a few tips, as well.

“Organic gardening allows the small gardener the opportunity to work with their soil using only those natural materials at hand,” Keith says. “Green manuring and composting are satisfying to the soil – and the soul.”

Keith points out that one of the most difficult disciplines a newbie organic gardener must learn is the art of crop rotation and fallow ground. “It’s important to let a planter and its soil rest,” he explains. “Cover crop the soil and plant Daikon Radish in the Autumn. It’s a natural soil buster that will break down the soil in the garden throughout Fall and Winter. In spring don’t plant anything else for that season but instead let it rest. Or as an alternative, you could plant an annual clover.” 

For those starting out he suggests keeping it simple. “Even a five foot by five foot area will do,” Keith explains. “Start with a tomato plant and a pepper plant. Because you’re in Ireland, do think of a lazy bed for some potatoes. Add a row of green beans, a few lettuces, and maybe some turnips and peas. It’s one of the reasons, I think, that I garden: I get to say ‘Lettuce, turnips and pea!”

Keith recommends using a good spading fork or a broadfork to break up and prepare the ground before planting. “I recommend digging a small plot with the five by five dimensions I’ve mentioned so root crops and new plants can get deep into the soil. The broadfork in particular can be expensive so borrow one if you can!”

Which is exactly what I intend to do. Now that the last of the rhubarbs have died away, and the late spuds lifted, I’ll take Keith’s advice and find a broadfork to borrow. As winter approaches, you’ll find me in my planters, preparing the garden for next year’s crop, making sure to keep one fallow to let the soil rest a bit. Thank you, Keith for this expert advice!

Books On Botanical
For a list of rare and out of print books on everything Botanical, go to Keith’s website, The American Botanist Booksellers, www.amerbot.com.

American Seeds
And while we here in Ireland are not legally permitted to buy bulbs or living plants from outside the EU, we can legally bring in seeds from most anywhere in the world. If you’d like to try your hand at some American seeds visit Keith and his online Seed Savers Exchange by going to http://www.seedsavers.org/special/online-exclusives

If this blog interests you, then you might want to know more about living and working in Ireland. Are you thinking of traveling to Irelandmoving to Irelandworking in Ireland? Do you want to understand what makes the Irish tick, how you can get a job here, and how to survive in this wonderful country? If so, consider purchasing the 2015 Kindle edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland. Over 11,000 have already done so! Now over 85,000 words long, this book could make the perfect gift for those interested in this wonderful country. Simply click on any of the above links to purchase the new 2015 Kindle edition. You can also download free apps to read the Kindle version on any PC or Mac.