Written Answers. - FÁS Training Programmes.

Tony Gregory

Question:

124 Mr. Gregory asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if asylum seekers require full refugee status to participate on FÁS training schemes; and if so, whether there can be any exceptions to this rule. [7827/01]

On 26 July 1999 the Government decided to allow asylum seekers who had arrived in the State before that date and had made application for asylum, to seek employment, as their application for asylum became 12 months old. This permission to seek employment also permitted asylum seekers, who were the subject of the Government decision, to undertake training with FÁS, the national training authority. In that connection FÁS has established an asylum seekers unit with branches in Tallaght and Blanchardstown.

Section 9(4)(f2>b) of the Refugee Act, 1996, commenced in November 2000, prohibits applicants for refugee status from seeking or entering employment or carrying on any business, trade or profession during the period before the final determination of their application. In the circumstances it would clearly not be appropriate for FÁS to offer training to any other group of asylum seekers other than those covered by the Government decision of July 1999. Such persons are, of course, free to engage in voluntary work pending a determination on their application.