Stephen Kirwan leads our Commercial Immigration, Employment and Company Formation Team. With extensive experience in the legal industry they bring a wealth of knowledge in the areas of Public Interest Law and Equality Litigation,  Judicial Review and Strategic Litigation, Employment & Company Law , Oral and Written Representations before Quasi-Judicial and Administrative bodies, Legal & Commercial and Legislative Drafting and Private Client & Commercial Immigration Law Applications.

Historically Irelands experience with immigration related to emigration away from Ireland. This was due to economic stress and lack of sustainable employment in Ireland during the latter part of the last century. But Ireland has grown stronger from this and we now see the harnessing of the global strength of the Irish diaspora across with world with many emigrants now returning to Ireland to avail of its growing economy and high quality of life. This is also due to our direct access to the EU Market and following Brexit Ireland will be the only EU member state with English as its first language. Many international company’s and leaders in global economy are now choosing Ireland as a base for its European business. Owing to the aforementioned experience with immigration Irelands sociocultural embraces migration and has proven to be a modern, progressive and welcoming nation.

As modern trade continues to develop from national to international, we are cognisant of large-scale economic migration. As well as offering a full Company Law service for companies seeking to incorporate in Ireland, whether to access the Irish and/or European Markets, we have a number of competitive products available to meet all your commercial immigration and employment needs be they employment contracts, employee handbooks or staff training and full work permit application service to support movement of talented staff from one country to Ireland through critical skills and general work permit applications.

We provide simple, straight forward and confidential advice to private clients, as well as Irish Companies attracting highly skilled people to the Irish market and foreign companies seeking to set up business in Ireland as a going concern.

As well as advising clients in niche areas of commercial immigration law we regularly advise in the following areas:

  • Foreign Direct Investment/ Citizenship by Investment
  • Work Permits –
    The Irish General Work Permit is an employment permit which allows a non-EU citizen to work legally in Ireland for a particular employer and position. Initially the permit is granted for two years and is only granted to those with an offer for employment in being.The Critical Skills Employment Permit is designed to attract highly skilled people into the labour market for desired employment areas that are not readily available in the Irish EEA labour market. The Department of Justice recently expanded this area to attract highly skilled workers in specific areas:
  • Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permits
  • EU Treaty Rights
  • Brexit & UK Citizens Residing in Ireland
  • Irish Citizenship & Naturalisation
  • Irish Citizen Child Applications
  • Sport and Cultural Employment Permits
  • General Advices relating to Residency Permissions and entry into Ireland, registration with the GNIB
  • Detailed drafting of complex legal submission for INIS Applications
  • Short Stay Business Visas
  • Stamp Zero Permits
  • Family Reunification
  • Judicial Review – Immigration & Asylum List -Our Immigration Department has unparalleled experience in representing numerous clients in Immigration and Asylum Judicial Reviews before the domestic and European Courts including the following key Immigration Law Cases:
    • E.D. v DPP [2010] IEHC 110
    • H. I. D. and B. A. v R.A.C. & Ors Case C-175/11 (preliminary reference to the CJEU)
    • S (a minor) -v- MJELR [2012] IESC 63
    • A.A.M. (Somalia) v- MJE [2013] IEHC 68
    • K (DRC) v MJELR & Ors. (Unreported, High Court, Gilligan J, 19 April 2007)
    • K.N.Q. (Iraq) v RAT [2013] IEHC 117
    • El Menkari & anor -v- MJELR & Ors [2011] IEHC 29
    • A v MJE [2014] IEHC 17
    • P v MJE [2016] IEHC 408 (judgment awaited from Supreme Court on appeal from Court of Appeal 2019)
    • Haroon-v- MJELR [2018] IECA 3 and C-169/18 (preliminary reference to the CJEU)
    • Ahmed v MJE 2018/38/JR
    • Gorry v MJE [[2014] IEHC 29; [2017] IECA 280

There are many other stamps/ permissions and applications which may be of interest to you. Please contact our department to arrange for a consultation with our experts.

IIP Page

In recognition of the growing Citizenship by Investment industry that allows investors, entrepreneurs, CEO’s and high net worth clients to obtain permissions to remain and work in Ireland we offer our investor clients detailed and professional advices in relation to the Irish IIP – Immigrant Investor Programme and STEP – Start Up Entrepreneur Programme which was designed by the Irish Government to encourage Direct Foreign Investment into the Irish economy in exchange for residency and work permissions for the investor and immediate family members. The IIP Programme is ever evolving and this year we have seen significant change in relation to due diligence and risk assessment requirements.

The IIP Programme provides a range of investment options to high net worth investors considering Ireland for investment. There are a number of specific criteria. Firstly, the investment must be good for Ireland, increase employment and be in keeping with public interest. The funds to be utilised through the programme must be legally acquired and not borrowed. Investors must show that they are of good character and have no previous convictions. They must also have a net worth of a minimum of €2 million and this must be evidenced through property and/or official bank/ government statements. All of the evidence provided will be vigorously tested by the Department of Justice through correspondence with home countries. The funds must also be capable of transfer and not subject to any lean.

The proposed investment must be in one of the following categories:

  • Endowment:€500,000 to a public project benefiting the arts, sports, health, culture or education. The endowment can be €400,000 per investor if it is pooled by at least 5 individuals. Generally speaking, the endowment is usually by way of a charitable donation and cannot be recovered by the investor at a later date.
  • Enterprise Investment:A minimum €1 million investment into a new or existing Irish business for a minimum of 3 years. The enterprise can be a start-up registered by the investor. The investment can be in a single Irish enterprise or spread over several enterprises. The enterprise must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and the investment must support the creation or maintenance of employment.
  • Investment Fund:A minimum of €1 million investment in an investment fund for at least 3 years. Investment funds must invest in Irish businesses and projects. The route for a fund to be accepted as an investment for the purposes of the Immigrant Investor Programme is for it to be part of an application by an individual investor.
  • Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT):A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The investment may be spread across a number of Irish REITs. This type of investment is of particular interest to many business people as following three years from the date of purchase the investor can cash out/ divest themselves of no more than 50% of the shares purchased, in the fourth year the investor can divest up to a further 25% of the shares purchased for the IIP. And after five years from the date of purchase the investor can divest the remainder of the shares and no further requirements are on the retention of shares.

It should be noted that in relation to all of the investments as mentioned above “INIS does not take any responsibility for the performance of approved investment funds. INIS does not conduct any oversight of fund operators and confers approved investment fund status on the basis of the external regulatory regime of the Central Bank of Ireland. Investors commit funds at their own risk and should be aware that the value of the funds is dependent on the performance of their fund manager and the value of their investment may rise or fall. However, fund performance is not a condition of renewal of immigration permission.”

There are a number of specific times within the calendar year that investors can apply to this programme. They are as follows for the calendar year 2019:

Window 1: 4th March 2019 –15th March 2019
Window 2: 8th April 2019 – 12th April 2019
Window 3: 20th May 2019 – 24th May 2019
Window 4: 19th August 2019 – 23rd August 2019
Window 5: 21st October 2019 – 25th October 2019

It is not possible to make an application outside of these dates. Decision are made by the Department of Justice through the Evaluation Committee. Whilst it is hoped that all applications are processed in a timely fashion there is a serious backlog in the processing of these applications owing to strict due diligence checks being carried out by the Department of Justice. Waiting times at present for approval are in the region of 7-9 months. During the evaluation process your legal team may be required to provide additional information and draft complex legal submissions.

Contact Gráinne Whelan for a professional and confidential consultation relating to the options available to you and your family through the Immigrant Investor Programme.

Company Law Services

Clients considering setting up in business in Ireland will need to carefully consider the manner in which they do so. Traditionally business set up can occur as a sole trade, a partnership or the incorporation of a limited company. The way a client selects their business set up will depend largely on the type of business being carried out and the customer base being targeted. There are also risk elements to consider, for example if you set up as a sole trader and your business fails your personal assets could be at risk of sale to pay your creditors.

KOD Lyons Solicitors can offer a number of products relating to company and business set up. We offer our clients the following catalogue of services which can be specifically tailored to suit our clients needs:

  • Bespoke advice on Company Formation & Incorporation
  • Company Incorporation via the CRO (The Irish Companies Registration Office) platform to include:
    1. Company Seal
    2. Certificate of Incorporation
    3. Bound Company Register complete with shareholders, directors and company details
    4. Bound Copies of your Company Constitution
    5. Copy of all documents filed
    6. Share Transfer documents completed
    7. Company Director Information Book
    8. Company Secretary Information Book
  • Preparation of particular Company Memorandum & Articles of Association
  • Draft precedent Employment Contracts in line with Irish & European Law
  • Draft precedent Employee Handbook including a variety of issues such as health and safety, GDPR, data retention, bullying and harassment, grievance procedures etc.

We provide separate specialist services in addition to the above on the following:

  • Company Credit Report Check and Due Diligence Checks
  • Debt Collection
  • Advice & drafting on Distribution Agreements, Franchise Agreements and any other Commercial Agreements
  • Preparation & Drafting of Partnership and Shareholder Agreements
  • Advising on Business or Asset Purchase Agreements
  • Employment Law Advices
  • Employment Law Seminars for staff training

We also work closely with a number of trusted partners in the following areas:

Property and Commercial Lease Advice, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Trademark and Patent Law, Licensing to Trade, Planning Queries, Accountancy Services, Stock Broking & Investment Services.

All in all we aim to provide our clients with a fully serviced product to meet all of their needs in an efficient, professional and confidential manner.

Employment Law

The relationship of the employer and the employee can be a complex one, particularly when the parameters of that relationship are not defined from the outset. We provide a confidential and professional service to employers from the creation of their contracts of employment, employee handbooks, policy documents, creation of grievance procedures and staff training.

Employment Law is technical, complex and current. Therefore, it is of the utmost that you are kept up to date with changes in this ever-growing area. With global trade and global migration on the rise and a highly skilled population of workers we at KOD Lyons have seen a significant rise in the number of contentious cases coming before the Workplace Relations Commission and the Courts. We have a wealth of experience in Bullying & Harassment Cases, Dismissal cases (Constructive & Unfair), and Redundancies.

We advise clients, both employee and employee, with regard to contentious employment law cases before the Workplace Relations Commission {hyperlink to WRC website] , The Labour Court, The District Court, The Circuit Court and the High Court as well as advices relating to the Equality Tribunal and the Labour Relations Commission.

Contact Gráinne Whelan or Stephen Kirwan for a professional, considered, confidential and sympathetic consultation.

We provide simple, straight forward and confidential advice to private clients, as well as Irish Companies attracting highly skilled people to the Irish market and foreign companies seeking to set up business in Ireland as a going concern.


Solicitors, Ushers Court
31-33 Ushers Quay, Dublin 8

Tel: +353 1 679 0780
Fax: +3531 675 9588


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