Ireland to opt into the EU Reception Conditions Directive allowing asylum seekers to access the workforce

In response to the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in NHV v Minister for Justice & Equality, finding the absolute legislative prohibition on asylum seekers from entering, seeking or being in employment unconstitutional, the Irish government has opted into the EU Reception Conditions Directive (2013/22/EU), which provides for and regulates asylum seekers right to work.

In May, the Irish Supreme Court found that the prohibition of asylum seekers looking for employment under s9(4) of the Refugee Act 1996 was unconstitutional, with O’Donnell J stating that “where there is no temporal limit on the asylum process, the absolute prohibition on the seeking of employment is contrary to the constitutional right to seek employment”. Click here for earlier PILA commentary on the decision. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan hast stated that the Government has fully accepted the recommendation of the inter-departmental task, which was set up in light of the Supreme Court ruling, to opt into the EU Directive.

The opt-in will bring Ireland into line with the rest of the European Union, according to the Minister. It will provide a framework that will enable international protection applicants’ access to work where their application has not received a first instance decision within the timeframe set by the Directive. Minister Flanagan also stated that these measures will allow temporary permission to access the labour market for eligible applicants to be granted irrespective of whether or not the applicant chooses to avail of the State’s Direct Provision accommodation and other supports.

The interdepartmental group will oversee the opt-in procedure and the practical arrangements for facilitating access to the labour market for eligible applicants in line with the EU Receptions Conditions Directive.

Click here for further commentary.

Click here  to read the EU Reception Conditions Directive (2013/22/EU).



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