They Come Here Taking Our Job

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An asylum seeker protesting in Limerick last week, following the recent removal and transfer of several asylum seekers from the Mount Trenchard Direct Provision centre 

How many?

The Irish Refugee Council has conducted a study, called Counting The Cost, focusing on the experience that people previously in the Direct Provision system had when they attempted to  find work after they were granted permission to remain in Ireland.

The IRC based the report on interviews with 20 people – 11 men and nine women – who had been in the Direct Provision system for at least three years.

Seventeen of those interviewed had been in the Direct Provision system for five years or more, while three had been in the system for at least three years.

Readers should note that as asylum seekers in the Direct Provision system are not allowed work, those interviewed were trying to find work after many years of being excluded from the labour market.

The report found that, at the time of the interviews, only one person was in employment – working with autistic children. One other had been in two short-term jobs – three weeks as a pizza chef and four months in a meat factory.

This is despite the fact that many had experience before they came to Ireland:

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Those interviewed were also asked about what they believed were the reasons for their inability to find/get a job. The answers varied with the responses ranging from ‘gaps on their CV’ to ‘discrimination’:

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Meanwhile, although the study focused on the matter of employment, it also sheds light on the mental health issues related to the Direct Provision system.

For example, of those interviewed, two, at least, had tried to take their life while in the Direct Provision system, while others had self-harmed.

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In its conclusion, the IRC found:

“In light of the evidence presented in this study, it is clear that the asylum system is creating barriers and causing long-term harm, working against the benefits of both seeking international protection and the society into which they have been granted permission to live.”

Read the report in full here

Pic: Paula Geraghty

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29 thoughts on “They Come Here Taking Our Job

      1. Padi

        No doubt some fled in fear of their lives, however is it logical that you would keep travelling north and thousands of miles? As I see it, people seeking asylum are kept in these centres (safe, fed and sheltered at the country’s expense, which I am more than happy with as a taxpayer) so that the legitimacy of their claims can be assessed. It must be recognised that some are merely economic migrants, which I equally do not have an issue with, but I do expect our authorities to have a level of control over the numbers.

        1. Spartacus

          Did you know that some asylum seekers have been in Direct Provision camps for up to 14 years? That they are no closer to getting an answer? That you’ve been paying the private companies who run these camps out of your taxes in the meantime? That there are teenagers in these camps who speak as native Irish kids do, play the same GAA games, take part in school plays, and fall in love just like any other kid but they live with the knowledge that they can be taken unannounced to the airport on any morning and deported, even though they’ve never known any other country? You’re OK with all of that?

          1. Padi

            I’m not denying it is a highly emotive issue and I fully recognise all of your points. I do not have a magic answer to this. However, my priority is that people are safe, fed and sheltered, outside of that I feel it is up to the people we elect to decide the best course of action. You may think that is cold but it’s how I feel.

          2. Spartacus

            Padi, I don’t share your ability to absolve myself of responsibility for the way these human beings are being treated in my name. Our elected representatives clearly don’t give a shit – these people have no voice, no votes to offer, and are largely kept out of the public eye by incarceration in what amounts to little better than open prisons.

            I admire your honesty all the same.

    1. Spartacus

      For the financial rewards. €19 per adult per week is a fortune to these people you know. The qualified and experienced pharmacist from Zimbabwe at last Saturday’s demonstration told me that himself.

  1. scottser

    the direct provision system is for those seeking asylum and fleeing persecution in their own countries, not for those who are simply economic migrants. it looks as if most of those occupations of the 20 surveyed were occupations that wouldn’t put them in fear of their lives. i was expecting to see such occupations as activism, journalism, academia, legal professions etc. while i don’t want to second-guess their reasons for coming here, it’s obvious that lumping all of those groups in together is short-sighted, long-term, expensive and wrong.

    1. Spartacus

      I don’t think you can read too much into that. One man I know (who has been through the entire system and is now an Irish citizen) fled his home country because of persecution. His father was on the “wrong side” during a civil war back in the late 50s, and his extended family are fair game to this day. Several of his close relatives have disappeared without trace in the last few years. I’ve never asked him what his “old” occupation was but I know he’s now a very talented photographer.

    2. Don Pidgeoni

      While I don’t want to second-guess their reasons for coming here, you clearly are.

      Also, tiny sample of people.

      1. scottser

        it would be naive to assume that everyone in the direct provision system is a bona-fide asylum seeker. my point is that the system is flawed enough without forcing economic migrants into it, particularly when those folks come here to work and provide for a better life for themselves and their families.

          1. scottser

            i am not for one minute suggesting that, so pipe down and try and address the point i was making please.

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