Govt to respond to Supreme Court ruling on asylum seeker work ban ‘in good time’
2017-08-04 10:25:14 -
By Chinedu Onyejelem

The Government is to respond “in good time” to the Supreme Court judgement that found unconstitutional the ban on asylum seekers working in Ireland, it has emerged. 

This past May, the Supreme Court found that the “absolute prohibition on employment” for applicants for international protection is in contravention of the right to seek employment under the Constitution.

The plaintiff in the case of NVH v Minister for Justice and Equality was a Burmese national who arrived in Ireland on the 16 July 2008 and applied to be recognised as a refugee on the following day.
In 2009, his application and subsequent appeal to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal were refused. But a judicial review in July 2013 quashed the decision and the applicant was allowed to re-apply for recognition as a refugee. He was subsequently refused again, and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal upheld the decision in November 2013. 

The following year, the decision to refuse him a second time was quashed on consent and both parties agreed for the process to be recommenced.
“At that point, the appellant had been in direct provision for almost six years and faced a further significant delay before his application was finalised,” read the Supreme Court judgement.
“Even then, in the event that his application was unsuccessful, he could have applied for subsidiary protection which, it was anticipated, could take a number of years.”

In May 2013, the plaintiff received an offer of employment in the direct provision facility in Monaghan where he had lived since he came to Ireland. 
According to the Supreme Court, he applied to the Minister for Justice for permission to accept the job, but this was refused on the grounds that, as he was still awaiting a decision on his application, he was prohibited from working.

The plaintiff sued the State on grounds that his prohibition was against the Charter of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Constitution. 

Both his action against the State in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal were unsuccessful. He subsequently took his case to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Metro Éireann has learned that in a bid to meet the six-month grace the Supreme Court gave the Government to remedy the issue, an interdepartmental task force established by the Minister for Justice last month has started deliberations on the implications of the judgement.

Announcing details of the task force, Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “The court’s finding is based on our international protection system having no temporal limits as to when the application process will be concluded.”

Noting that the ruling has “implications for a number of Government departments and services”, the minister said solving the issue required a “whole-of-Government’ approach”.

Minister Flanagan added: “The court recognises that there are complex matters in relation to this judgement and that the State has a right to determine not just who can enter the State but also to regulate what their rights are while within the State, particularly as regards employment.”

TAGS : Asylum seekers Supreme Court
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