Introduction

On this page you can find information about the labour market in Ireland, including information on procedures, attitudes, restrictions, education, trainings and more.

Immigration matters in Ireland are dealt with by the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) of the Department of Justice. From 31st December 2016 the International Protection Act of 2015 came into force meaning that all asylum, subsidiary protection and ‘leave to remain’ claims are dealt with under a single procedure. The International Protection Office (IPO) is the responsible body for assessing these claims. The law in Ireland does not allow asylum seekers to work or seek employment while they are waiting on a decision on their international protection application.  If an applicant is granted international protection, either refugee status, subsidiary protection or leave to remain, they are entitled to access the same services and social protections as Irish citizens, including access to full-time employment.  Refugees can access mainstream services which can assist them with the transition from supported accommodation for asylum seekers to independent living.  

In February 2017, Ireland’s Minister for Justice announced a new Integration Strategy from 2017 – 2020. This strategy is building on policy documents dating back to 2008 when Ireland was in a very different economic position having since gone through an economic crash. The current strategy focuses on integration of migrants, refugees and persons of migrant origin. The lack of a policy before now with clear targets, incentives and priorities meant that there was no coherent approach to integration. Programmes targeting asylum seekers and refugees have traditionally popped up in an ad-hoc manner as a way of dealing with a particular need. The Irish Government, therefore, relies heavily on NGOs and civil society to fill these needs and any gaps in services. Employers are expected to require more incentives to specifically target migrants and refugees in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies. A lot of work needs to be done in this area to raise awareness about the potential benefits of hiring a migrant or refugee including the diverse skill set and experience they might bring to a position.

Labour market integration policies are typically incorporated into mainstream services and policies. Often the local city/county councils develop integration policies taking into consideration local community needs.

About Skills2Work

The Skills2Work project aims to promote labour market integration of refugees* by promoting the early validation of formal and informal skills and competences. This is achieved by supporting the reception framework and capacities of relevant authorities, service providers and employers, and by enhancing access to information and services regarding the recognition of skills and qualifications of refugees. 

*For the sake of clarity and simplicity, the term "refugees"  is used on this website to refer to all beneficiaries of international protection (both Geneva Convention refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection).

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