‘Anyone who is appealing a negative decision is excluded from the right to work’
2018-07-01 12:39:15 -

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Masi) has welcomed Ireland’s full implementation of the EU Reception Conditions Directive and extending the right to work for asylum seekers.


“As the people who have been directly affected by the Irish State’s total ban on employment for people seeking asylum, in the direct provision centres across the country people are this evening celebrating what is for once a positive move for at least some of our people,” said a statement from Masi co-ordinators Lucky Khambule and Donnah Vuma. “The right to make an economic contribution to this society and to have the chance to provide for ourselves and our families has been a long time coming.


“However, as some of us celebrate, many of us unfortunately have no cause to celebrate,” they added. “The right to work will be restricted to people who have been in the international protection system for nine months without a first decision on their application. This means that anyone who is appealing a negative decision is excluded from the right to work.


“We have mixed feelings then: one the one hand, today’s announcement opens up the possibility of some kind of normal, dignified life for some of us as we wait for a decision on our lives and futures; on the other hand, that possibility has been restricted and closed off from others without any good reason.”


Khambule and Vuma said that MASI is alarmed by other barriers faced by eligible asylum seekers, who are currently not allowed to obtain a driving license or open a bank account.


“What are simple matters for most can become insurmountable and frustrating barriers to taking up employment for those of us in the asylum system,” they said.


“When governments grant people basic human rights, they do so with the expectation of gratitude. Today, our gratitude turns more to the brave Rohingya man who took his case contesting the ban on the right to work to the Supreme Court and who by his actions paved the way to [the recent] announcement.”


Khambule and Vuma pledges that Masi would continue its campaign “until we have achieved what we set out to achieve: the immediate, unrestricted right to work with full supports and rights for all people in the asylum system in this country.”

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