Written Answers. - Foreign Employees.

Ulick Burke

Question:

38 Mr. U. Burke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps she proposes to take towards the integration of non-nationals into the workforce. [7001/01]

My Department facilitates the integration of non-nationals into the work-force by ensuring that such persons are aware of opportunities in Ireland and by issuing work permits, as appropriate.

The integration of non-nationals into the work-force is the responsibility of Irish employers who must ensure that non-nationals recruited by them, or on their behalf, have the necessary linguistic and other skills to contribute fully to the work of their enterprises. The majority of non-nationals coming to Ireland in recent years have come from other EU member states, but an increasing number have been coming from elsewhere in the world.

Increasingly, employers and employment agencies here are developing programmes to assist non-nationals in adjusting to Irish conditions and work practices, particularly where cultural differences are such as may give rise to difficulties.

To the extent that employers find that people are being recruited to work in Ireland in the absence of a proper appreciation of conditions here, they should demand a more rigorous approach from those doing the recruiting and preparation. An area of particular concern is that of basic language skills. My Department is at present finalising translations of a statement of basic rights of employees which will be available in a number of relevant languages.

I am not aware of any overt barriers to social integration which is clearly a gradual process and I am sure that most Irish people will extend a warm welcome to new co-workers and neighbours. I have no doubt that this will also be the case in relation to sporting, cultural and social organisations who are generally happy to receive new members.