Tomorrow (Wednesday 31st January), the Employment Permits Bill 2022 will come to Report Stage. As promised at Committee stage, it is expected that the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond, will bring forward an amendment which will grant the right to all employment permit holders to change their employer.
Neil Bruton, Campaigns Manager, MRCI, said “When people come to Ireland on General Employment Permits, they are basically tied to one employer for 5 years. Employers know it is impossible for them to move and that has led to very poor conditions and exploitation for many workers. Nobody deserves to be treated this way. These are people doing essential jobs like working in health care, food production, agriculture, and restaurants.”
Simon Okello, a permit holder said, “The right to change employer is a game changer. It means people like me will be able to stand up for our rights and it gives us the power to challenge exploitation.”
He continued, “I was trapped in a job for several years where I was working 65 to 70 hours a week, doing hard labour and only being paid for 40 hours. I couldn’t do anything because my employer knew I had no option. If I could have just changed employer, it would have saved me from those years of terrible treatment”.
Adriana Álvarez, another permit holder called for the government to ensure the notification process for this is as simple and flexible as possible. “This needs to be a realistic option for everyone or else it won’t work. If it is restrictive or complicated, people won’t be able to use it.”
Mr Bruton concluded “Now, more than ever, Ireland needs to show that we value the people recruited to work here and the vital role they play in crucial sectors of our economy. Positive changes like this one go a long way to doing this.”
Neil Bruton, 083 426 0081
Notes to Editor
- Employment Permit Bill 2022: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2022/91/
- Transcript of Committee Stage including then Minister English commitment to introduce ‘change of employer’ amendment at report stage: https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/debate/select_committee_on_enterprise_trade_and_employment/2022-11-30/6/