The background is that Ireland wants to do
absolutely NOTHING to encourage immigration. They are actively
working to NOT encourage folks to come over, but once here, there's
generally a much more lenient attitude. It took several calls
over more than a year before I finally elicited the information
below - an indication, in itself that attitudes are loosening
the overall rule is that the prospective resident shouldn't become
a burden to the Irish state. In other words, you can stay if
you can pay. The Immigration Officers have a reasonable amount
of discretion to deal with each case individually. And since
everyone's reason for moving to Ireland is unique, this is probably
that none of these rules apply to EU/EEA citizens (except Bulgarians and Romanians) who are able live and work in Ireland without any significant hassles or paperwork.
for non-EU resident permits
After more than a decade of immense immigration, the Justice Department finally put up a web site containing the information all those millions of would-be-Irish residents need.
This key site is the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.
The site's Residency page contains the complete (and very short!) list of categories which qualify for residency status. These are:
Long Term Residency
Spouse of an Irish National
Dependants of an EEA National
Change of status
De Facto Relationships
For a full description and to see if you qualify under any of these categories, be sure to visit the site. (Note: If the link does not work, the Residency page is buried within the Immigration section.)
The category that gets a lot of people excited is "De Facto Relationships". Yes, you can qualify for long term residency with an Irish partner even if you're not married. Except, you have to provide proof that you've lived together as a functioning couple for at least four years. That means shared utility bills, joint bank accounts and all the other clutter of a married couple. It's such a hassle, you might as well be married!
The Full Site
Required Proofs for staying
longer than 90 days, Owning property in Ireland, Stickers and Stamps, Green Cards, Playing Games
with the Immigration Department - Not Registering, Playing Games by Checking
in and out of the Country, Jail, Visa extensions and other
subjects are covered in the Full Site.