The Justice, Equality and Defence Committee of the Oireachtas today (Thursday 19th November) made a recommendation to Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald to introduce a broad based, time bound, regularisation scheme for undocumented migrants living and working in Ireland.
Helen Lowry coordinator of MRCI’s Justice for the Undocumented campaign (JFU) said, “We very much recognise the leadership members of the Justice Committee have shown in making this important recommendation. It is a significant step in recognising the valuable contribution undocumented migrants are making to Irish society and in protecting the rights of children and workers”.
Over 40 organisations have endorsed MRCI’s timely and pragmatic regularisation proposal including, members of the Trade Union movement, business representative bodies, religious organisations, political parties and members of the community and voluntary sector.*
Ms Lowry went on to say “The recent spotlight on the fishing industry shows just how vulnerable undocumented migrants are to exploitation and abuse. The introduction of a comprehensive regularisation scheme will undoubtedly strengthen workers’ rights but judging by the levels of non-compliance and exploitation across other precarious sectors clearly there is a need for a broad-based regularisation which complements the sectoral approach currently being proposed. The Justice Committee’s recommendation acknowledges and supports this. ”
Jayson Montenegro, founder member of JFU who presented to the Justice Committee in February of this year, responded by saying “This is wonderful news. Like the Irish undocumented in the USA, undocumented migrants like me have put down roots and have been living and working here long term”. He concluded by saying “And like the Irish undocumented in the USA we just want an opportunity to come forward and get our papers”.
NOTES TO EDITOR
* Akidwa * Anti-Racism Network (ARN) Ireland * Barnardos * BeLonG To * Business in the Community * Cairde * Chambers Ireland * Community Workers’ Co-operative * Conference of Religious in Ireland (CORI) * Cork City Council * Crosscare * Depaul Ireland * Doras Luimní * Dublin City Council * EPIC * European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland * European Network Against Racism (ENAR) Ireland * Fingal County Council * Focus Ireland * FLAC * Galway Peoples’ Resource Centre * GLEN * Immigrant Council of Ireland * Irish Congress of Trade Unions * Irish Refugee Council * Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) * Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland * Labour * Mandate * Mayo Intercultural Action * Nasc * National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) * National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) * New Communities Partnership * SIPTU * Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) * Society of St Vincent de Paul * South Dublin County Council * UNITE the Union * Young Christian Workers * Youth Work Ireland
The MRCI has carried out extensive research with undocumented migrants in Ireland.
Key findings: of 540 undocumented migrants surveyed
– 81% have been here for 5 years or more
– 21% have been here for 10 years or more
– 87% are working
– 44% are parents
– 53% have 3rd-level education
– people of 29 different nationalities were surveyed, but the top 5 were Filipino, Chinese, Mauritian, Brazilian and Pakistani.
– 86.5% entered the country legally and subsequently became undocumented