Stephen Kirwan, Solicitor

Stephen Kirwan of our Immigration and International Law team provides a very brief analysis on the recent announcement of the Minister of Justice in relation to the right of international protection applicants to access the labour market after 6 months in the international protection process

On the 28th January 2021 the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD announced new measures that will enable applicants for international protection to seek work six months after they make their application.[1]

The new measures follow a review of labour market access for international protection applicants which was dealt with in the Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process (otherwise known as the ‘Day Report’)[2]

Applicants previously had to wait nine months to apply for permission to work. In a further change, the Minister now notes that an applicant’s permission to work will now last for 12 months rather than six months.

Applicants who are eligible for a labour market access permission can access all sectors of employment and occupations with the exception of those that require a citizenship or long-term residence requirement, such as the Civil and Public Sector, An Garda Síochána and the Irish Defence Forces. Applications for a labour market access permission are available online.[3]

Clearly this reduction in waiting time to be welcomed compared to the previous situation as is the extension of duration the permission to work. However, it is submitted that the six-month waiting period is a disproportionate barrier to accessing the labour market. Aside from this, the change does little to address the many other underlying barriers to accessing the labour market which still exist such as the de facto bar on asylum seekers opening bank accounts and in obtaining an Irish drivers licence.

Should you require any assistance with a labour market access application do not hesitate to contact Stephen Kirwan of this office at stephen.kirwan@kodlyons.ie

 

[1] Minister McEntee announces reduced 6 month waiting period for international protection applicants to access work – The Department of Justice

[2] Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support including Acommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process.pdf (nascireland.org)

[3] www.inis.gov.ie/en/inis/pages/labour-market-access