Updated: 17/01/18 : 15:05:18
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Asylum seekers without status decision for nine months allowed to work

Asylum seekers who have not had a decision on their status within nine months of applying will be allowed to work.

The Minister for Justice has announced sweeping reforms of the immigration system on foot of a Supreme Court ruling.

Last year it was found the banning of asylum seekers from seeking employment was unconstitutional.

“When the Supreme Court gave its judgment in the N.V.H. case on 30 May last, the outcome was that the Court declared Section 16(3)(b) of the International Protection Act, which prohibits access to employment without any temporal limit for applicants, to be unconstitutional in a protection process," said Charlie Flanagan TD.

"The Government could have chosen to interpret this decision narrowly. It could have simply amended the provision prohibiting access to the labour market in the Act by way of primary legislation.

"Instead, the Government listened to the calls from Deputies and Senators, the McMahon group and NGOs that Ireland should align its bespoke system with European norms.

"It decided that the State would give effect to the judgment by way of opting into the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive. In doing so, the Government has chosen to be ambitious and to enhance and protect the rights of international protection applicants and their families.

"We are using the opportunity afforded to us by the Supreme Court decision to continue our programme of reforms undertaken since 2014.

"The Directive not only provides a framework for effective access to the labour force, but reaches into many other areas, which the Government feels it is timely to have validated by the European Commission that we do reach and comply with European standards."