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.

  • Worker Justice Group in Action

    worker justice groupIn November 2014, MRCI established a Worker Justice Group (WJG). This group brings together migrant workers employed in a number of sectors characterised by low-paid precarious jobs. As part of their work, the WJG carried out a survey, ran focus groups and gathered case studies to examine current trends and issues affecting migrants in low-paid precarious jobs. They are committed to tackling exploitation, wage theft, discrimination and lack of career progression. Check out members of the WJG in action

  • Low PayResearch highlights exploitation of migrant workers in Ireland- All Work and Low Pay: The Experience of Migrants Working in Ireland

    New research conducted with migrants working in low-paid sectors in Ireland has revealed that exploitation, lack of progression and discrimination are rife. Migrants working in the restaurant sector, security, home care and domestic work were surveyed and highlighted precarious working conditions, widespread breaches of employment law and chronic underpayment. Key survey findings:

    • 44% received less than €8.65 per hour
    • 48% are living on less than €300 per week
    • 61% are required to work extra hours without pay
    • 45% had no contract
    • 26% do not receive payslips
    • 82% did not receive a salary increase in the last year
    • 82% were not compensated for working on Sundays

    The survey findings were reinforced by focus group discussions and an analysis of ten years of data from the MRCI Ireland’s case files. To download the report click here.


  • 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.