How to work in film and TV in Ireland as a foreign freelancer

Hello there, my name is Bianca and I am the Brand Manager at The Production People. As a Mexican national, I faced all the different challenges that foreigners need to overcome to be able to live and work on this beautiful island. So believe me, I know exactly how you feel.

As in any other country, freelancing is the most common way to get a job in TV and film productions in Ireland. People working in these industries are (almost) always hired for specific projects or timeframes. 

Therefore, being aware of all the documentation you need to have in place before joining a niche recruiting agency or looking for any gigs by yourself, will help you to make your job search easier and faster.

In this post you will find the rules that you need to consider before you go freelance in Ireland and start your new adventure. So let’s begin!

Skellig Michael in Co. Kerry – Famous location for films such as Star Wars The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

First things first – do you need a residence or working visa?

If you are a citizen of the UK or a country in the European Economic Area (the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein), you do not need to apply for residence or working visa for Ireland, so you can jump to the “Register in Revenue” section. 

However, all of those that come from a different country or area may need to apply for a visa. Unfortunately, as a freelancer you will not be able to get a work permit that will allow you to live and work in Ireland without taking an advanced education course (i.e. a master’s degree) or an English course.

Full-time working visa

If you take an advanced education course, you may be eligible to apply for a 2-year full-time working visa after you have graduated. If you are interested in working in TV and film, we suggest you take a course related to these industries. This will make it easier for you to find a job after you graduate.

Part-time working visa 

If you are taking an English course, you will be able to renew your visa for 3 or 4 periods. Keep in mind that working part-time means 20 hours per week. There are some exceptions such as the Christmas season and the time-off you have from your school course, when you can legally work full-time.

Going through the visa process is always tricky, you have many questions that never seem to have an answer, but don’t worry, on the Irish Immigration Service website you will find all the information you need to apply for your visa. 

Once you have your IRP card (a.k.a visa), the next step is to get a PPS number. This is a unique reference number that is needed for all dealings with public service agencies, including Revenue, so it is important to have it as soon as you get your visa sorted.

Register with Revenue

In Ireland, every worker must be registered on  Revenue to pay their taxes accordingly. You can do that by using the eRegistration service or by completing the Form TR1 form if you’re an Irish resident or the Form TR1 (FT) if you are not a resident yet. 

Self-employed scheme

Being registered as a self-employed person means that you are responsible for making your own assessment of tax due. This scheme is called Income Tax Self-assessment, and you must submit it every year.

PAYE scheme

There is another scheme called PAYE “Pay As You Earn” where tax is deducted weekly or monthly without your intervention. You pay taxes based on what you earned in the previous year. 

For example, you have to pay tax on income earned in 2022 by 31 October 2023. In addition, all freelancers in this scheme need to fill out their self-assessment tax return once a year.

You have all your documentation in order… now what?

Well, now the time to look for a job has begun! The Film and TV industries in Ireland are tightly knit – however, with new studios and sound stages scheduled to be built, opportunities to break in will be abundant. You could get some gigs in diverse films, TV series, documentaries, ads, music videos, corporate videos and so much more!

As a freelancer, you will always be in search of jobs and projects. Many freelancers find work through a niche recruiter agency like us, The Production People, where you will need to submit your cover letter, CV, and portfolio.

At The Production People, something that characterises us is that we screen all our candidates, so you’re not “just added to a database”. We take the time to know your strengths and areas of expertise, as well as your interests, to increase your chances of getting your dream job! 

After that, we create a profile for you with all the information you have given us (including your bank details to pay you on time as soon as you get a job). We know what producers are looking for, so no worries you are in good hands!

And now the big question…  When will you start working?

Well, there is no set answer for how long it will take to book a job. Some of our candidates get work on the same week they register, while it can take a bit longer for others. To hire crew, our clients get in touch with us to let us know their requirements, and we start making a list of the candidates that could fill that need.

If your experience and skills fit with what a production is looking for, we get in touch with you to check if you are available and interested in the job, so that we can pass your details on to our client. This is not a job offer, we just want to see if you’re free and interested in the project. If the client wants to book you we will confirm via email. There it is! You are confirmed for your first project as a freelancer!

On the other hand, if you prefer to start building a network of clients by working on different projects you got by yourself, keep in mind that whatever your choice, you should always have a financial cushion to cover your expenses while you get more projects or gigs.

To Conclude…

I really hope these tips help you to start your journey as a freelancer in Ireland. Remember that we have other articles on the blog here for you to learn more about this industry – make sure you read them to give yourself the best possible opportunity for success. If you have any other questions, please get in touch with us. We will be happy to assist you and get to know you!


At The Production People we provide Complete Talent Management Solutions. To provide you with the best people for your project, we screen and verify every single member that joins our database. With us you have the security to hire qualified staff while being compliant with the Irish Employment Law. For more information, get in touch with us today. We’d love to help. Simply email or call us on (00) 353-1-634 31 00 

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