Labour calls for reduction in six month wait period for refugees seeking work

07 February 2023
  • International protection applicants must be granted access to labour market within three months of arrival 

Labour workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock has called on Government to halve the wait time for refugees seeking work in Ireland from six months to three months.

Senator Sherlock said:

“As legislators, we must do more to help support people seeking asylum in our country.

“Anyone who has ever been jobless and seeking work without speedy success knows that awful sense of feeling unwanted and being unproductive.

“In Ireland, those seeking international protection are forced to spend six months here before they become ready for work and even at that, there remain limits to that eligibility for work as many asylum seekers cannot easily access drivers licences.

“Our call comes at a time where anti immigrant fervour is being disgustingly whipped up in certain communities. It’s also the case that employers across many sectors are appealing to Government to expand and loosen the employment permits scheme due to severe labour shortages in certain employments. Any changes to the work entitlements of asylum seekers would have to be accompanied by a serious beefing up of the Labour Inspectorate from their current under resourced state.

“Work plays a key role in our lives. As well as providing income, it provides freedom to operate in the economy, to make friends, to integrate into our communities.

“Labour utterly condemns attempts by people to hijack communities, to stir up division and essentially protest against people fleeing war and other tragic circumstances for a shot at a better life in Ireland.

“The toxicity in public discourse in recent weeks must not be allowed to take root in our society. It is not inevitable and we must take action to stamp it out.

“We must empower refugees to integrate into our society and support them to work. We must give refugees every opportunity to thrive within our country.”

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