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Press Release

“We live here, we work here. We belong here.” A survey of over 1,000 undocumented people in Ireland

By 14 October 2020October 16th, 2020One Comment

Today, Justice for the Undocumented Group (JFU) and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) launch ground breaking research into the lives of over 1,000 undocumented migrants in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Tjanasi Jack, Chair of JFU said, “This survey shows that undocumented people are at the heart of our communities; we are your friends, your neighbours and your co-workers. We need a clear and fair solution”.

Tjanasi continued “The findings show that over 75 percent of us have been living in Ireland for five years or more and that 93 percent were in employment. So many of us have stepped up and continue to work providing essential services throughout Covid-19. Unfortunately the survey also reveals high levels of exploitation, with over a quarter of workers not receiving the minimum wage. This is unacceptable”.

Zeinab, living undocumented in Ireland for 3 years said, “Sometimes I am not paid the full amount, other times I am not paid at all. If I had my status I could stand up to this. I could get a better job and give my children a better future.”

In June, the new coalition government committed in the Programme for Government to introduce a new regularisation scheme for undocumented workers, children and young people within 18 months of taking office.

Karuna, living undocumented in Ireland for 10 years said, “My 5 year old daughter was born here, this is the only home she knows. This scheme will offer her the opportunity she deserves.”

Neil Bruton, Campaign Worker with MRCI concluded, “Schemes that offer a pathway to papers are commonplace across the EU. Today we are calling on the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee to bring in a scheme that is broad and inclusive, so that people can live safely and securely and thrive in their home.”


Caroline França – 083 888 9185
Neil Bruton – 083 426 0081

Notes to Editor
Programme for Government

P. 76:
Immigration and Integration
We will: Create new pathways for long-term undocumented people and their dependents, meeting specified criteria to regularise their status within 18 months of the formation of the Government, bearing in mind EU and Common Travel Area commitments.”

*MRCI Infographic (October 2020)

1,000 survey responses from undocumented people living in Ireland
• 75.5% living here for five years or more
• 93% in employment working to support themselves
• 70% aged between 24 and 44
• Many are working in vital sectors of the economy:
o 27% providing care to older people in private home settings
o 17% Cleaning and Maintenance
o 10% Childcare
o 5% Construction
• 26% of people did not receive the minimum wage
• 46% were working more than 40 hours per week
• 75% of respondents were working in the same job for 3 years or more
• 83% employed in the same sector 3 years or more