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Employment Permits Bill to Pass Today

By 19 June 2024June 21st, 2024No Comments

Bill provides historic step forward in tackling exploitation of migrant workers as it includes the right to change employer. 


Today (19th June 2024), the Employment Permits Bill 2022, being brought forward by Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Emer Higgins is scheduled to pass through the Oireachtas final stage. This Bill includes the right to change employer, a vital new protection for workers which will significantly reduce their risk of exploitation.

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) have campaigned for the right to change employer for over 15 years. This Bill will now grant workers on employment permits the freedom to change employer after a period of 9 months has elapsed. This makes changing employer a realistic possibility for workers who may be facing poor conditions or exploitation in their work.

Edel McGinley, Director, MRCI said “The right to change employer for work permit holders is a major victory for thousands of people across Ireland who provide vital care for older people, build our roads and houses, drive our buses and pick, process and cook our food on a daily basis.”

McGinley continued, “The work permit system has for too long tied a person to one employer and as a result they were easily taken advantage of. In our experience restricting a person to one employer has been the biggest factor leading to the cases of gross exploitation of migrant workers that we come across.”

Recently the MRCI represented Ms. Sharanjeet Kaur a worker previously employed with an employment permit at a restaurant in Skerries, Co. Dublin who was awarded a total of €143,268 by an Adjudication Officer for gross breaches of her employment rights.

Ms. Kaur explains what it was like on a permit, “I was trapped. I did not know what to do and I did not want to risk my immigration here and become homeless. I had no choice but to stay in a bad situation.”

Ms. Kaur continued, “People who don’t need a work permit may not really understand it. Being able to leave and work somewhere else is important. It means people like me who are not being treated fairly will have options and will be able to stand up for ourselves.”

McGinley concluded, “We urge Minister Higgins to quickly put in place the new procedures necessary to enable people to change employer. The notification process must be simple and flexible and communicated to all permit holders so that they can avail of this provision if needed. This is a real leap forward in terms of worker rights and recognition, and we hope it paves the way for equal rights for all people who come to Ireland for work.”


Contact Details

Write to us here or info@mrci.e

01 889 7570

083 075 53 87


Notes to Editor