The 2013 EU reception conditions directive, which I signed into effect from 30 June last, enhances access to the labour market for asylum seekers. It means that eligible applicants will have access to all sectors of employment, other than appointments to the public service, the Civil Service, An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. I am happy to outline the rationale for this approach. It is a standard requirement of the Public Appointments Service when advertising a position in the Irish public service that eligibility to compete is open to citizens of the European Economic Area. Similar provisions apply to recruitment to the Garda and the Defence Forces. An individual who applies for international protection in Ireland is given temporary permission to remain in the State to allow his or her application to be processed. This permission is temporary, pending the processing of the person's application. During this time, the applicant has not established a right to remain in the State on a permanent basis.
The processing of an application for international protection may result in a person being declared a refugee, in which case he or she will be fully entitled to compete for positions in the public service. Ireland's system for Civil Service recruitment through objective competitive examinations provides equal access to all of those who are eligible regardless of their origins. Equally, the examination of an application for international protection may conclude that the applicant is not entitled to international protection and therefore is not entitled to remain in the State. The Deputy will appreciate that the temporary status of international protection applicants is not consistent with being appointed to positions in the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, the Civil Service, the public service or an embassy or consulate representing the State. As I have outlined, the long-standing practice is for competitions for such appointments to include a requirement for candidates to be citizens of the European Economic Area.