Work & Labour Migration

Workplace exploitation is a persistent problem facing migrant workers. Over the last 10 years MRCI have assisted thousands of workers to claim unpaid wages and seek legal redress for the abuse of their employment rights. Migrant workers cannot easily leave exploitative jobs due to the constraints of the Work Permit System. If they leave the job they are often at risk of becoming undocumented. MRCI is working to create a fairer Work Permit System to allow workers to leave exploitative situations without risk to their immigration status.  At its heart is current and future labour migration policy for Ireland. Looking to Ireland’s future labour needs is key to protecting migrants in low paid work.

  • Food For Thought from Migrant Rights Centre Ireland on Vimeo.

    Food for Thought is a short social justice film documenting the experiences of low-wage migrant restaurant workers in Ireland.

    Food for Thought weaves together workers’ stories and interviews with trade unionists, economists and supportive employers, reminding us that exploitation is bad for workers and bad for business. The film is informed by research MRCI carried out in 2012 with 120 migrant restaurant workers, which identified non-compliance and exploitation as ongoing concerns in this sector. We believe Irish consumers care not only about what they eat, but about the pay and conditions of the workers who cook and serve their food. 

    For more information on Food for Thought and its launch, see our press release


  • Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid

    The Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid is made up of workers, trade unions and community organisations including SIPTU, Mandate, Communications Workers’ Union, UNITE, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, The Poor Can’t Pay Campaign, Community Platform, the European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland and the National Women’s Council. This broad-based coalition has come together to defend the pay and conditions of thousands of the lowest paid workers in Ireland such as cleaners, hotel and restaurant workers, security guards, farm labourers and shop workers.


  • Coalition Host Roundtable

    In October the MRCI in collaboration with the Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid held a roundtable event to consider how we can support migrants who have made Ireland their home and how we can map out a future migration strategy that puts the rights of migrants to its core. The event specifically looked at the impact of the recession on migrant workers, the impact of labor migration polices on migrants and actions required. Further action is now being planned to advance the recommendations made at the event. We will keep you informed.


  • World Decent Work Day

    October 7 is the World Day for Decent Work. During this day trade unions and other workers organisations carry out actions such as demonstrations, and seminars to promote and demand decent jobs and full respect for workers’ rights. The International Labour Organisation has developed an agenda for decent work that prioritises fair and sustainable working opportunities. It has four reinforcing elements:

    • Access to productive employment and income opportunities;

    • Rights at work, particularly with respect to the core labour standards;

    • Systems of social protection; and

    • A voice at work through social dialogue.

    The Decent Work Agenda is an approach that emphasizes employment that is accompanied by rights, representation and protection.

    Given the impact of the current economic crisis on low paid workers, including migrants, it is vital that decent jobs become a governmental policy objective and the reality for migrant and all workers in their employment.