The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report ranks Ireland as the world’s 8th easiest place to start a business: “Ireland’s pro-business attitude and relatively low level of bureaucracy supports the setting up of business with a minimum of red tape…[its] strong legal and regulatory landscape makes the country an attractive and stable place to do business”.


Irish regulators, across different sectors, have a strong reputation for excellence.

These include the Central Bank of Ireland which is the regulator of all Financial services firms in Ireland, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) which boasts an international reputation in regulatory compliance, The Irish Data Protection Commission which has a dedicated unit for multinational companies and the NSAI, which is Ireland’s standards and certification authority.

Ireland participates in EU regulatory fora. The country is represented by the relevant national authorities at the European level.

Please note that there may be regulations that are particular to your sector. Check the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation for guidance on compliance in your sector.

Legal structure of your business

Are you setting up as a sole trader, forming a partnership, or forming a company? See the Companies Registration Office’s website for guidance on the steps involved in setting up a business.

Please note that any company which is incorporated outside Ireland and establishes a branch in the state must be registered with the CRO.

Registering for Tax

You are required to register for corporation tax, social insurance (PAYE and PRSI) and VAT with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Company Law Requirements

For information on making annual returns and other company law requirements in Ireland see the Company Registration’s Office and the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Protecting Intellectual Property

The Irish Patents Office will help you understand intellectual property to better protect your innovations.

Employment laws

Employers must ensure that their employees receive certain basic employment rights. These rights are governed by detailed employment legislation. If you employ people or are setting up a business that will employ people, you need to be familiar with your responsibilities and your employees’ rights.

workers in industrial packaging facility

Employment Permits and Visas

In general, citizens of the member states of the European Union (EU) and of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein can relocate to Ireland and set-up and run businesses, or accept employment, without a visa or immigration permission.

Anyone else who wishes to live and work or run a business in Ireland requires immigration permission to do so.

Client companies of the IDA can receive support from this organisation in securing visa and employment permits where they are required. The IDA can also help companies to apply for ‘trusted partner’ status which will streamline the application process.

Eligible entrepreneurs looking to move to Ireland for the long-term can receive assistance from Enterprise Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland’s Start-Up Entrepreneur Programme

Enterprise Ireland’s main immigration programme is the Start-Up Entrepreneur Programme. Designed for people who want to relocate to Ireland to found or grow their start-up, it provides for long-term residency permission for the entrepreneur and their family and includes a work permit for the spouse.

To qualify for this programme you must demonstrate that you have the relevant ability and credible plans for a start-up that will fulfil a number of criteria. Your start-up must be innovative and scalable, controlled from Ireland, capable of competing on global markets, capable of generating at least 10 jobs in Ireland within 3-4 years and be able to raise €50,000 if one entrepreneur (plus family) is seeking residency under the programme and €30,000 for each additional entrepreneur who needs a visa.

For example, a team of three founders, one each from France (no visa needed), Russia and US, who wished to relocate long term to Ireland with their families, would need to raise €80k to qualify. Unlike the entrepreneur visas in many other countries, there is considerable flexibility as to the sources of this investment: it can be the founders’ own money, or from family and friends, or from Irish investors or foreign investors, or any mixture of these.

Please contact Enterprise Ireland’s Start in Ireland team at if you would like more information.

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