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Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 12 November 2020

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Questions (312)

Mick Barry

Question:

312. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice the number of letters of notification sent in 2019 and to date in 2020 by her Department to participants in the atypical working scheme to non-EEA, Swiss crew in the fishing fleet here notifying them that their contract of employment has ceased and that they should furnish details of their new contract of employment under the scheme within 28 days of the issue of the letter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36056/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Atypical Scheme for non-EEA Crew in the Irish Fishing Fleet was established as a cross Departmental response to address the matter of non-EEA workers on certain categories of vessels in the Irish fishing fleet. A number of Departments are involved in the scheme and it is monitored by an Oversight Committee, chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine with members from relevant Departments and State Agencies, including my own.

The application process includes the drawing up of a contract which includes, for example, payment of wages in line with the minimum wage, that the medical needs of the employee must be provided for by the employer, and when an employment is terminated the employer must repatriate the employee to their home country.

This contract, prepared by a solicitor practising in the State on behalf of the employer, is submitted in the first instance to the Central Depository administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and thereafter an application is made to the Immigration Service of my Department for an immigration permission.

I understand that each contract is certified by a solicitor as follows:

1. That the terms of the scheme are met;

2. That the conditions of employment are in accordance with the relevant legislation and that annual wages are not less than the National Minimum Wage – currently €10.10 per hour; and

3. That there is a statement from the vessel owner that they will enroll the crew member in a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Safety Training Scheme prior to commencement of employment.

The terms of the Scheme require that the contract of employment must be of 12 months duration.

The table below sets out the number of letters regarding ceased contracts that have issued in 2019 and to date in 2020.

Year

2019

7

2020

10

Total

17

This represents a very small number of the permissions granted in either of these years as can be seen in the table below.

2019

7

2020

10

Total

17

Any abuses or otherwise of the employment conditions of any non-EEA National in the Irish fishing industry is a matter for the Workplace Relations Commission, the Marine Survey Office, the Gardaí and other appropriate authorities of the State.

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