Saturday 15 December 2018

Work ban for asylum seekers is struck out by court

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Tim Healy

The Supreme Court has formally declared that the absolute ban preventing asylum seekers working here is unconstitutional.

The five-judge court unanimously ruled in May last year, in a judgment delivered by Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, the absolute ban was unconstitutional "in principle", but it deferred making a formal declaration for six months to allow the legislature to address the situation.

Yesterday, the Chief Justice said the court was formally declaring that the ban, as set out in Section 16b of the International Protection Act, is inconsistent with the Constitution and no longer forms part of the law.

The ban was challenged by a member of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar, who spent eight years in direct provision before getting refugee status.

He had argued he suffered depression and being allowed to work was vital to his development, personal dignity and "sense of self worth".

The proposals require a job being taken up must generally pay more than €30,000 per year and that it cannot otherwise be filled by an EU citizen, or a person with full migration permission in Ireland.

Asylum seekers would also be prohibited from working in 70 employment sectors, including catering and childcare.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "Today is an important day for those in the international protection system. It marks an end to the absolute probation on seeking access to the labour market which has been in place for many years."

Irish Independent

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