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Sinn Féin commends Campaigns on progress on Right to Work For Asylum Seekers

27 June, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has welcomed the decision of the Government to allow a Right to Work for Asylum seekers, but expressed concerns on certain elements.

Teachta  Ó Laoghaire said;

“This is a significant outcome, for all those who had campaigned for a Right to Work for Asylum Seekers, for many years now.”

“The interim scheme which had been announced was totally inadequate. It was set at a level so high and restrictive that the vast majority could not apply. The income threshold and the occupations restrictions made it an unrealisable right to work, and the proof of that is in Dáil question responses to me, which state that only 2 had even applied, and one of those, withdrew. (PQ 27714/18)

“We, along with many bodies representing immigrants and Asylum seekers made it very clear to the Minister that if this was their idea of a right to work, it would fall a long way short of what is envisioned in the Reception Conditions Directive.

“I am glad that the Minister has listened, and that the new scheme is much more comprehensive allowing for a right to work after 9 months, in all but a few occupations.

“We are disappointed at the fact that it will have to be 9 months before an application can be made, we would have preferred a 6 month waiting period, in line with what the immigrant Council had advocated.

“I am disappointed also that it appears that those who have already received a negative first instance decision from the International Protection Office will be excluded regardless of how long they have been here. The International Protection Appeals Tribunal can involve significant delays, so this means that some of the longest here will be excluded.

“That is regrettable, and we will be seeking that the Minister addresses this, and acknowledges the fact that many long term residents will not be eligible under this element.

"Credit here is due to the organisations that have been fighting this case for many years, including the Immigrant Council, the Migrant Rights Centre, NASC, MASI, and many others.

"This was a campaign that involved lobbying, campaigning, and ultimately, we must remember, involved taking the Government to Court.

"I particularly want to recognise now the Rohingya man, who took the case in NVH v Minister for Justice

"This was not a short campaign. The lack of a right to work for asylum seekers, and the denial of their dignity in that regard has been a major criticism of the Direct Provision regime.

"However, it was not the only denial of dignity in that regime by any means, and the Government must now move to dismantle Direct Provision and treat asylum seekers with respect."

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