Right to work for asylum seekers must be accessible and effective

Posted On: 4 October 2017

MEDIA STATEMENT, 4th October 2017

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, responded to the statement today by Minister Charlie Flanagan in the Seanad:

“Minister Flanagan’s statement that people in the asylum process will be given the right to work is positive. However, any other response would be contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision which made a clear finding that an indefinite ban on the right to work is unconstitutional. As put forward in our July policy paper, the detail of how this right will be given to people is crucial.”

“We are calling for someone to be given the right to work after six months of waiting for an asylum decision and no restrictions be placed on what professions a person can enter and that self-employment also be allowed.”

 “We have also written to the Minister to request that we be given the opportunity to present to the Taskforce looking at this issue and that, more importantly, people in the asylum process also be given this opportunity. This is essential from the perspective of transparency and good government and to ensure the integrity of the taskforce’s final decision. We are still awaiting a reply to our request.”


Notes to the editor:

The right to work in other EU Member States (www.asylumineurope.org/comparator/reception)


Against a backdrop of delays in decision making at first instance in Ireland, the importance of granting the right to work has become even more acute. The Irish Refugee Council understand that there is currently an approximate delay of 18 months between making an asylum application and being interviewed, if the application is not prioritised. This is unacceptable and contrary to the narrative that decision making is speeding up. Refugee status determination is a critically important function of the State and the International Protection Office should be fully resourced and supported as a matter of priority.