Press Centre

Calls on Tánaiste to Postpone Work Permits Changes

PRESS RELEASE: 20 May 2009

Press Conference today, 5pm, European Union House

Today the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), along with trade union and employer representatives, are calling on Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan to postpone changes to the Work Permits System and to consider alternatives. The changes, due to come into effect from 1st June, will affect all new work permit holders, but also existing work permit holders already in Ireland who are made redundant.

According to MRCI Chairperson, Fr Bobby Gilmore, “Changes to the work permit rules will make it virtually impossible for people currently on permits who are made redundant to get another job, regardless of how long they have lived and worked here.  Many people and their families will be forced to leaveIrelandor will have no other choice but to stay and work informally.”

Yaiz M., a migrant worker fromMalaysia, who will be speaking at the press conference today, explains, “I have been living inIrelandfor the past nine years with my wife and two children.  I recently lost my job and I am worried what will happen to my family, especially with these new work permit changes.  I want the government to look at people like me who have committed themselves toIreland, to at least give us a chance.”

Fr Gilmore continues, “This will cause enormous uncertainty, hardship and create another excluded group in Irish society.  Migrant workers on Work Permits continue to contribute enormously toIrelandand many see it as their home.  Now obstacles and barriers being put in place by the government clearly point to the exclusion of these people and their families.  The message being sent is: 'You are disposable.’”

“We know the uncertainty and exclusion that Irish emigrants experience in times like these.   What we wish for our own emigrants, we should also wish for immigrants here inIreland.  It seems as ifIreland’s ‘Céad mile fáilte’ has turned into ‘slán abhaile’ to the many migrant workers who have madeIrelandtheir home.

ENDS

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Notes:

PRESS CONFERENCE: Wednesday 20 May at 17:00, European Union House,18 Dawson St.,Dublin 2

Speakers to include migrant workers, as well as:

  • Mr Gerry McCormack – SIPTU National Industrial Secretary
  • Mr Leslie Codd – Dewfresh Mushrooms Ltd