Written Answers. - Asylum Seekers.

Ivor Callely

Question:

63 Mr. Callely asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the total number of asylum seekers eligible to seek employment under the scheme agreed by Government in December 1999; the number and percentage that obtained employment; the number in receipt of other benefits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7010/01]

Under the Government decision of 26 July, 1999, asylum seekers who had entered the State before that date and had applied for refugee status were given the right to seek employment when their application became 12 months old. The number of asylum seekers to whom the decision applies is 3,535. The current position with regard to this group of asylum seekers is that 1,567 are in employment. The following are in receipt of benefits; 1,234 are on unemployment assistance; 619 are in receipt of supplementary welfare; and 115 are in receipt of lone parent's allowance.

FÁS asylum seekers unit has engaged with approximately 2,000 people and has secured employment and-or work experience for 1,567 over the last 10 months since commencement of operations. FÁS plans to engage with asylum seekers being paid unemployment assistance and supplementary welfare over the remainder of the year and expects to place a significant number in employment.