Cork-based contractors from outside the EU, who were listening to recordings from Siri without users’ knowledge until Apple ended the practice, were told they had two weeks to leave the country after their contracts were abruptly terminated this week.
A number of non-EU citizens who were working for Globetech, a Cork firm headquarted at at Cork Airport Business Park, were among workers who were told on Tuesday that their employment with the company had ended.
As previously reported by the Irish Examiner, fixed term workers in Cork were hired to listen to more than 1,000 Siri recordings each per shift. Email cor respondence sent by the company on Wednesday and seen by the Irish Examiner, advised employees from outside the EU that their employment permits and their Irish residence permits were no longer valid.
“That means your (sic) will have to leave the Republic of Ireland within 2 weeks from your contract coming to an end.”
However, when contacted for a statement, Globetech said:
There is currently confusion among those who had their contracts ended, according to one former employee, who is a non-EU citizen. Generic termination letters, addressed to ‘Dear employee’, were issued to all staff, but will not be accepted by gardaí or by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, the employee added.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation said it has not been advised of any employment permit issues relating to Globetech. Employment permit-holders who are made redundant must notify the employment permits section of the department within four weeks of that date, a department spokesperson said.
“The department does not require employees who are made redundant to leave the State. An employment permit-holder has up to six months from the date on which their employment ceases to find another job.”
A contractor who had their employment terminated this week previously told the Irish Examiner: “We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement when we started that meant we couldn’t talk about what we did in detail.
“We were not allowed to say we worked for Apple.
“They [the recordings] were about a few seconds long. Occasionally we would hear personal data or snippets of conversations but mostly it would be Siri commands.”