Since its introduction in June 2018, under the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 230 of 2018), the labour market access permission issued by my Department has had a very positive impact for international protection applicants and employers alike. Over 8,000 permissions have been granted to date.
This permission gives eligible applicants the opportunity to work and helps them to integrate into Irish society while providing for themselves and their families outside of the State’s directly provided services and supports. It also helps people to plan and prepare for their future in Ireland if they receive a positive decision on their application for international protection.
The Regulations provide access to both employment and self-employment for any applicant who has not received a first instance decision within six months of making their international protection application, provided that this situation cannot be attributed, or attributed in part, to the applicant.
Labour market access permission is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and may be renewed until a final decision is made on the person's international protection application. The LMA8 Information booklet provides a summary of the Labour Market Access process for employers. The Labour Market Access Unit of my Department recommends that employers familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions of the permission before employing permission holders. The booklet can be accessed on my Department's immigration website at the following link: www.irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/form-LMA8.pdf.
An applicant’s legal permission to temporarily reside in the State is provided for under the International Protection Act 2015. People who make an application under the Act are given a temporary residence card (TRC or blue card) which is proof of their permission to reside in the State. The TRC can be renewed and only becomes invalid when a person's permission to enter and reside in the State (Ireland) as a protection applicant, ceases to be valid.
There are no plans by my Department to make any changes regarding the legal basis for an applicant’s permission to reside in the State under the International Protection Act 2015.
The Deputy may also be aware that where the Ministerial Decisions Unit of my Department grants an international protection status or a grant of permission to remain to an applicant they are then entitled to immediately register an immigration permission on a Stamp 4 basis which allows a person to seek employment without the requirement to hold an employment permit and is renewable.
Finally, I can confirm for the Deputy that my Department is currently conducting a qualitative study of the experiences of international protection applicants in accessing the labour market, which is due to be completed by Q3 2022.