Written answers

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Department of Justice and Equality

International Protection

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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157. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to her public statement of the 21 October 2020 (details supplied), if she will confirm the changes are now in place; if she intends to bring forward new regulations in order to give effect to the changes announced; if so, when it expected that such regulations will be in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37280/20]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018, transposing the EU (Recast) Reception Conditions Directive, came into effect from 30 June 2018. The Regulations include a provision on access to the labour market for eligible international protection applicants. Currently, any applicant who has not received a first instance decision within 9 months can make an application for a labour market access permission.

Following a review of Access to the Labour Market for Persons Seeking International Protection, led by my Department, and approval of the recommendations by Government, I announced on 21 October 2020, that a number of positive changes are being introduced. The waiting period for applying for a labour market permission is being reduced from 9 months to 6 months and the validity of the permission is being extended from 6 months to 12 months. I also announced that we will expand the access to the labour market to include those applicants who received a first instance recommendation before the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 came into force, provided that they meet the criteria set out in the Regulations. The restriction preventing people accessing employment with public health employers, subject to them having the necessary qualifications, is also being removed.

These changes will need to be facilitated by an amending Statutory Instrument to the 2018 Regulations, which it is hoped to progress as soon as possible.

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