The Irish emigrant’s guide to moving home to Ireland,

25th May 2017

Since quantifiable records began in 1700, between 9 and 10 million people in Ireland have emigrated. Popular destinations include America, the UK, and Australia. The Irish reach is global, with everyone from Obama to Alec Baldwin claiming Irish heritage.

But much as the Irish have settled abroad, many are coming home too – or will be coming home in the coming years, to a relatively stable economy and jobs market.

At Lisney’s recent commercial seminar, Frank McSharry spoke about how 1,500 people return home every week. Indeed, Ireland represents an attractive prospect – but what do you need to know before planning the big move home?

The travails of moving home

Realistically, the journey of moving home consists of so much more than packing your bags wherever you are and hopping on a plane.

The big concerns for returning emigrants are:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Tax
  • Potential visa issues


Figures from the CSO show a steady fall in unemployment since the start of 2017, with April at 6.2 percent – the lowest level since May 2008.

Of course, this is great news for jobseekers with RTÉ predicting that the economy could reach full employment next year with unemployment rates forecast to remain at 5.5 percent from 2018 onwards.

If you’re interested in seeing the jobs that are available, keep an eye on the #jobfairy hashtag on Twitter, visit the #allaboutjobs website and sign up for the newsletter, and be sure to scour and, a job listing aggregator.

For businesspeople returning home, check out Supporting SMEs, Startup Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland. The Irish government also recently introduced a funded mentoring programme of up to €100,000 to support returning emigrants who wish to set up businesses in Ireland.

On the employment front, there’s rarely been a better time to return to Ireland.


1,500 emigrants are returning home every week and a lot of them are used to the idea of apartment living – but the cost of housing has seen big increases, especially in Dublin and its surrounding commuter towns.

Supply is an issue and rents are up across the board, with rents reaching an all-time high of €1,131 according to Daft’s Q1 report. County Roscommon is the least expensive place to rent, while South County Dublin ranks as the highest.

Relatively low housing stock and high demand is a key component to the rise in rental prices, with the average monthly rent on the south side of Dublin hitting €1,784. The cost of buying is up too, with a year-on-year rise of 8.7 percent in Dublin.

Many of those returning home may intend to work in Dublin but commute from a nearby town. Counties such as Meath, Kildare and Wicklow provide more affordable houses and good transport links with Dublin, thereby making commuting a real option.

That said, its bustling atmosphere and abundance of jobs means Dublin is still an attractive prospect. Lisney Premium Homes Homes details gorgeous properties with coveted postcodes, like this sprawling six-bed in Killiney or this spectacular five-bed in Sandyford.

On the more affordable scale, you can scoop up an ideally-located one-bed apartment on Ormond Quay for €250,000 or a two-bed house in Killester, Drumcondra, or Howth in the region of €295,000.

As a final incentive to those returning home, the government has set deposits to 10 percent for first time buyers regardless of house price and introduced the Help to Buy scheme.

The scheme offers first time buyers a maximum rebate of up to €20,000. Essentially, the scheme allows new build buyers and self-builders to claim back a tax rebate of up to 5 percent of the property’s worth. Terms and conditions apply, but you can read all about it in our blog post about the Help to Buy scheme.

In terms of the process of buying a house, getting a mortgage should be no more difficult for those returning home – though you may have to wait until you’re settled as lenders typically require a six-month track record in your current job, alongside a permanent contract as added security.

Once that permanence is secured, the process to getting a mortgage will properly kick in. As stated above, first time buyers will need a deposit of 10 percent of the house price. Second time buyers will need a deposit of 10 percent on the first €220,000, with an additional 20 percent required on the value above that €220,000.

The amount you can borrow is calculated independent of your deposit, and instead depends on your gross earnings. Whether you’re looking to buy as a single or joint applicant, the typical borrowing limit is 3.5 times your gross income, though it can be extended in certain circumstances.

If you are a cash buyer or want to buy before returning home, you’ll need to contact your chosen lender as different circumstances will apply from lender to lender.

In terms of the steps of actually buying a house, the process in brief breaks down as follows:

· Save for your deposit

· Arrange an appointment with a mortgage lender

· Get mortgage approval in principle

· Go house-hunting

· Appoint a solicitor

· Make an offer

· Hire a surveyor and a valuer to make sure everything is okay with the property

· Finalise the mortgage loan

· Get your mortgage protection insurance and home insurance in order

· Make it official: e.g. signing the contract, closing the sale, paying stamp duty etc.

For a complete overview of the home-buying process, download our Home Buyer’s Checklist here. It’ll take you through buying a home, step-by-step.


Irish people who have never worked or lived in Ireland will need to register for a Personal Public Service (PPS) number in order to register for tax purposes. PPS numbers are issued by the Department of Social Protection (DSP). You can find out more by visiting

If you’re starting work in Ireland, you’ll need to register for myAccount to access Revenue’s range of online services. You’ll receive a password and will need to register the details of the job and provide the employer’s tax registration number. Your employer will then be issued a Tax Credit Certificate so that your income tax deductions can be made.

Typically, you’ll be paying PRSI and USC tax on your earnings. Deloitte’s Budget Calculator is a handy tool for calculating how much tax you’ll be paying on your earnings.

The calculator covers the basics of income tax in Ireland, but for a comprehensive guide to tax and moving, pop over to

Tip: Before you make the big move, make sure you claim any tax back that you may be owed. You can usually do this yourself through the government of wherever you are living or hire a third-party service to do it for you.

Potential visa issues

If you’ve lived abroad for more than a couple of years, chances are that you may be coming home with a partner/spouse or kids in tow. In many instances, they may need a visa to enter Ireland.

Even in the case of marriage or being the child of an Irish citizen, people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) may need a visa to come to Ireland, and so they will need to apply for residency.

Residency can be granted on the grounds of marriage, civil partnership, or a de facto relationship pending the fulfilment of certain conditions. At its base, applying for residency involves an Irish citizen registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau and then submitting an application for residency.

Tip: Crosscare Migrant Project has published a detailed guide about the residency application. You can download it here.

Are you thinking of coming home to Ireland?

With over 80 years’ experience in the property market, we can help you buy or sell a house so you can settle back into life in Ireland.

Get in touch, and remember to follow us on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn for all the latest Lisney news.

By lisney
25th May 2017