Further to the Supreme Court ruling last May that the ban preventing asylum seekers is unconstitutional…
The Irish Times reported that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is to bring the Government’s plans to allow asylum seekers work to Cabinet next week.
Fiach Kelly reported:
Asylum seekers who spend more than nine months in the direct provision system without having their case decided on are to be given the right to work, become self-employed or access training.
…Under the Minister’s proposals, those who meet the criteria will be entitled to work by way of renewable six-month permits.
However, the right will be subject to some restrictions, such as areas of the economy in which those concerned can work.
… Those eligible to work will be given a “temporary and renewable” six-month stamp from the Department of Justice, which will also allow them to become self-employed or access vocational training.
However, access to work will be allowed to “certain but restricted sectors of employment”, and these areas of work will be kept under review.
The right to work will not be given to those whose status is decided within nine months, or those who seek to appeal or review a decided status.
Readers may wish to note that, in 1999, there was a brief reprieve for certain asylum seekers from the work ban.
Following widespread calls from business groups, trade unions and advocacy groups – and a U-turn by Fianna Fail – the then Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats coalition allowed asylees work.
The work initiative allowed for asylees, who had applied for protection before July 26, 1999, and who had been waiting on a decision on their application for over 12 months, to apply for work.
By the end of June 2000, 1,032 out of 3,241 asylees entitled to work had either found a job or had stopped claiming social welfare.
In addition, this right to work was on a non-transferable basis, so that an asylee couldn’t work independently of a job specified by a prospective employer, while the employer also had to pay a monthly fee of IR£25 – or a one-off annual fee of IR£125 – to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland