The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have long-standing cultural, territorial, linguistic, and economic ties and there are currently many UK expats living in Ireland. Both countries are members of the European Union, which means that several bilateral agreements simplify and streamline the flow of people, goods, services, and money across their borders. There are no restrictions to transfer money from UK to Ireland and convert GBP to EUR for trade or personla reasons.
UK nationals are able to visit, work, and study in Ireland without a visa. Indian and Chinese nationals with permanent residency in the UK may obtain a visa waiver, under the conditions laid out by the British Irish Visa Scheme. Nationals of several other countries worldwide are exempted from applying for a visa to enter or stay in Ireland for specific periods of time, as well. A detailed list of these exemptions is available on the website of theIrish Consulate.
Ireland’s system of higher education is comprised of specialist colleges, universities, and technological institutes. There are about seven public universities in Ireland that are among the top 650 in the world. Ireland is, therefore, a popular choice for higher education for students from all over the world.
UK nationals and students from other countries in the EU and EEA do not need to apply for a student visa in order to pursue studies in Ireland. UK nationals also benefit from the Free Fees Initiative, limiting the payment of student fees to a simple registration fee, which is usually about €2,500. Nationals of countries outside of the EU and EEA should expect to pay between €31,098 and €50,000 for undergraduate studies leading to significant international money transfer needs. This can be higher for more technical courses or for graduate studies. The cost of living in Ireland is fairly high for an EU country and students should budget at least €7,000 per year for living expenses.
There are agreements on healthcare between the governments of the UK and Ireland. This means that UK citizens living or working in Ireland, can access healthcare services without having to present a Health Insurance Card, according to the NHS. UK nationals living in Ireland will be required to present proof of UK residency, which can be in the form of a driver’s licence or a passport. However, British citizens must be treated by a state healthcare provider in order to receive benefits. Health services in Ireland are among the best in the world. Unfortunately, the public system is often overbooked, which can lead to long wait times, even for some urgent situations.
The tax system in Ireland is no less complicated than that of the UK. The amount of taxes paid is determined by income, residency and marital status. For those living in Ireland fewer than 183 days per year or less than 280 days during a period of two years, it is only necessary to pay taxes on income earned within the country.
Anyone living in Ireland full time must pay at least 20% on all taxable income. UK nationals may be eligible to certain tax exemptions; it is best to see the advice of an Irish tax expert in order to take advantage of these exemptions. Those who pay taxes in Ireland are assigned a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, which qualifies the taxpayer for social welfare benefits like pensions and healthcare services.
The banking system in Ireland is quite similar to that of the UK. The top four banks are the National Irish Bank, the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, and Allied Irish Bank. All major Irish banks offer a range of options to facilitate transferring money, including online banking services. Unfortunately, it is not very easy to open an Irish bank account outside of Ireland, since it is required to present proof of residence in the country, along with other pieces of identification, and it is usually required to submit these in person. It can also take several weeks for a bank account to be activated. This may impose a longer wait time for those looking to transfer money from the UK to Ireland.
The UK is Ireland’s most important partner in investment, trade, and tourism. Ireland imports more from the UK than it does from any other country. Total trade between the two countries amounted to £27 billion in 2012, based on information from the UKTI. Goods and services totaling about €1 billion cross between their borders every week often requiring pounds to euros conversion. Ireland is the largest recipient of food and drink. The main items include fruits and vegetables, meat and prepared meats, dairy products, cereals, and beverages. Ireland is the second largest market for fashion, footwear, and clothing from the UK. The UK’s main exports to Ireland include machinery, chemicals, fuel and lubricants, food and live animals, manufactured articles and transport.
Ireland has many strong and growing sectors in its economy, encouraging growth and external investment. Among these industries are construction, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, information and communications technology, energy, food and beverage, and agriculture. Ireland is home to a many prominent multinational companies and firms, including Takeda, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Roche, Dropbox, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Many expats working in Ireland are employed in the pharmaceutical, IT, business services, and food industries.
Ireland and the UK have a common legal tradition and, as a result, the laws that govern business operations in Ireland are quite similar to those in the UK. It is, nonetheless, advised to obtain legal counsel to navigate any differences when operating a business abroad.
The majority of goods and services supplied in Ireland are subject to value added tax. These are charged at varying rates ranging from 0% for certain essential items such as children’s clothing, medicine, education and childcare; to the standard rate of 23%.
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