Outside Leinster House.
Members of Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, Anti-Racism Network Ireland and Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland, and their supporters, are holding a demonstration calling for a meaningful right to work for asylum seekers in Ireland.
It comes ahead of an expected announcement from the Supreme Court tomorrow.
The Supreme Court is due to make a formal announcement [tomorrow] about the unconstitutionality of the ban on asylum seekers’ right to work in this state. This follows on from the court’s decision in May last year that this total ban is unconstitutional.
Since then, the Government has dragged its heels until finally, last week, it pushed a motion through the Oireachtas about opting in to the EU directive on reception conditions for asylum seekers including its very general directive on the right to work which allows individual states to decide on the details themselves.
MASI believes that the government is planning to introduce the most restrictive terms it can get away with, while spinning this as a sign of their great tolerance and charity toward asylum seekers.
Our beliefs are well-founded.
The Government has not given any detail of what the right to work for asylum seekers will actually look like, and now has managed to get a majority across parties to let them get away with adopting the most restrictive possible ‘interim measures’ on back of the promise to opt-in to the EU directive some months down the road, without giving any detail about what shape this will take in reality for asylum seekers who want to work.
These interim measures apply the existing work permits scheme to asylum seekers. This scheme limits the right to work in the state to a handful of highly paid professions, and requires the person applying to earn a starting salary of €30,000 minimum, and to pay €500-€1,000 euro for a work permit.
These are unreachable targets for most people, never mind for people living in direct provision on €21 a week.
If these interim measures are a taste of things to come, very few people seeking protection in Ireland will have the opportunity to earn their own living or support their families.