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Right to work for asylum-seekers: Supreme Court judgment and Irish Refugee Council position
5.7.17
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Following a judgment by the Supreme Court of Ireland calling on the government to consider giving asylum-seekers permission to work (there is currently a total prohibition regardless of how long an individual have been within the asylum system), the Irish Refugee Council has called on the government to give asylum-seekers the right to work after they have been within the asylum procedure for six months or longer.

See: Supreme Court of Ireland: Judgment in N.V.H -v- Minister for Justice & Equality and ors (pdf):

"20 In this case the applicant was in the system for more than eight years, and during that time was prohibited from seeking employment. In my view, the point has been reached when it cannot be said that the legitimate differences between an asylum seeker and a citizen can continue to justify the exclusion of an asylum seeker from the possibility of employment. The damage to the individual’s self worth, and sense of themselves, is exactly the damage which the constitutional right seeks to guard against. The affidavit evidence of depression, frustration and lack of self-belief bears that out.

21 Accordingly, in principle I would be prepared to hold that in circumstances where there is no temporal limit on the asylum process, then the absolute prohibition on seeking of employment contained in s.9(4) ( and re-enacted in s.16(3)(b) of the 2015 Act ) is contrary to the constitutional right to seek employment. However, since this situation arises because of the intersection of a number of statutory provisions, and could arguably be met by alteration of some one or other of them, and since that is first and foremost a matter for executive and legislative judgement, I would adjourn consideration of the order the Court should make for a period of six months and invite the parties to make submissions on the form of the order in the light of circumstances then obtaining."

And: Irish Refugee Council: Policy paper: The right to work for international protection applicants (pdf):

In summary the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) recommends:

- Applicants who have not received a first instance recommendation within six months of the date of their application to the International Protection Office (IPO) be given the right to work.
- Applicants to whom the transitional provisions of the International Protection Act 2015 apply, many of whom will have already waited for a total of six months for a final first instance decision under the single procedure, should also be given the right to work.
- Permission to work should automatically commence upon the passing of six months, and not be subject to a further application process.
- No restrictions or conditions should be placed on which professions or labour market sectors a person eligible applicant can pursue.
- No reductions be made to a person's Direct Provision allowance on account of being given permission to work.

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