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Government must legislate to protect migrant workers from rogue employers – Cullinane

31 August, 2012 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin Workers’ Rights Spokesperson, Senator David Cullinane, has called on the government to amend the Employment Permits Act 2003 to ensure that migrant workers hold their own work permits.

Senator Cullinane was speaking today after the High Court ruled that a migrant worker who was exploited by his employer could not receive €92,000 in compensation as the employer has allowed his permit to run out without renewing it rendering him an illegal worker.

He said:

“The case before the High Court today highlights a major flaw in the Employment Permits Act of 2003. My party colleagues at the time raised the issue of employers holding work permits of migrant workers saying it was open to abuse and ultimately to exploitation. This is exactly what has happened in this case.

“The fact that this worker can be denied his compensation on the basis that his exploiter failed to renew his work permit highlights the flaw in the legislation and the government should act to amend that legislation immediately.

“The reality of today’s judgement is that the exploiter has got off scot free and a message has gone out to other rogue employers that it is ok to exploit migrant workers if their work permit is not renewed. That message must be countered by the government.

“Sinn Féin has consistently called for legislation to protect workers from exploitation and abuse and we would be happy to facilitate the passage of amending legislation through the Oireachtas in order to ensure that a case like this does not arise again.”


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