Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration Fiona O’Loughlin TD has expressed her disappointment towards the stance taken by Government which is preventing asylum seekers from working.

The Government was advised in May 2017 that the State’s absolute ban on preventing asylum seekers from working was unconstitutional. The Court gave the Government 9 months to legislate to correct the problem, but such legislation was not forthcoming.

The Supreme Court today struck down the current arrangements. The Government has said that new arrangements will come into place from June 2018 to deal with this issue. In the meantime interim measures have been put in place from today.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “The interim measures introduced by the Government are highly unsatisfactory. The Supreme Court has ruled that asylum seekers should be allowed work, but the Government has put in place extremely restrictive provisions to get around this.

“Asylum seekers are restricted to seeking jobs in specified sectors and the job must attract a salary of at least €30,000. Asylum seekers are also obliged to pay €1,000 for an employment permit. These provisions are clearly designed to prevent asylum seekers from working, especially when you consider that they currently have a meagre weekly allowance of €21.60.

“It’s deeply disappointing that the Government chose to ignore the warnings from the Supreme Court. They were given ample opportunity to introduce legislation before the current provisions were declared unconstitutional. They decided not to do so and have south to prevent asylum seekers from working at every opportunity, despite the Supreme Court ruling that the restrictions to date are unconstitutional.

“The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan needs to make a statement on this and set out why he failed to introduce legislation to deal with this issue,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.