FG-Labour: Let asylum-seekers work
In a week when the use of forged documentation in the asylum-system was highlighted with the rejection by the Supreme Court of the appeal of Nigerian asylum-seeker Pamela Izevbekhai against her deportation, FG and Labour are proposing the allow asylum-seekers to work. Despite 13% unemployment and mass-emigration – Alan Shatter and Pat Rabbitte are now arguing for the right of asylum-seekers to employment to be restored.
Mr Shatter said in circumstances where there are 450,000 unemployed people in Ireland providing access to employment for asylum seekers was a difficult issue. But he said condemning people to a situation where they cannot work for four or five years was wrong. He said access to the jobs market should be considered in a way that would be appropriate in the current economic climate. Labour justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte said that incarcerating people in direct provision with nothing to do for years was a disgrace. He said the correct thing to do was to enable quicker decisions to be taken on people’s asylum cases and change the situation with regard to the right to work for asylum seekers.
However, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern has already cited a tripling in average monthly asylum-claims in 1999 as justification for rejecting such measures.
Extending the right to work to asylum seekers would almost certainly have a profoundly negative impact on application numbers, as was experienced in the aftermath of the July 1999 decision to do so. The immediate effect of that measure was a threefold increase in the average number of applications per month leading to a figure of 1,217 applications in December 1999 compared with an average of 364 per month for the period January to July 1999.
Fine Gael and Labour would do well in the current economic environment to reconsider such an ill-considered proposal, coming as it does when 60,000 people have been forced to emigrate in search of work due to the incapacity of the Irish economy to provide them with employment. That is especially so given that granting asylum-seekers the right to work would also entitle them to job-seekers’ allowance. The experience from 1999 is instructive in that regard. Not so according to the Irish Times:
Recognising that reality by legalising their right to work after a year would hardly act as an incentive to travel to Ireland, and could save money by reducing dependence on State aid.
This stance flies in the face of what transpired when that policy was provided for in before 2000. There exists in the Left-Liberal Irish media an unfortunate tendency to regard asylum-seekers as victims, in spite of the failure rate of 90% in their applications. This reflects what I regard as a tendency by the Left-Liberals towards Cultural-Marxism and the equation of minority-status with victimhood. That theme feeds into the rest of the editorial on themes including direct-provision, reception-centres and especially the high rates of refusal of asylum-applications. For example:
The Department of Justice makes the remarkable claim that “the Irish asylum determination system compares with the best in the world in terms of fairness, decision-making, determination structures and support services for asylum seekers including access to legal advice.” Would any of its clients concur? But this State certainly excels in one notable regard, its remarkable rate of asylum rejections. Of 6,560 decisions last year only 395 or 6 per cent were positive, less than a quarter of both the EU average or that of the UK.
What is conveniently left out of the editorial is that a mere 25% of deportation-orders are implemented (2008).