Migrant workers to stage protest

MIGRANT workers will stage a protest in Dublin today against new work permit regulations which could leave hundreds unable to retain secure jobs.

Some 30,000 people, or 1.5% of the labour force, are employment permit holders. However, that number is set to drop dramatically from June 1, when the new application regulations come into effect.

The Government will no longer issue permits to non-EU nationals for such roles such as domestic workers or lorry drivers.

Furthermore, there will be no new permits for what the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment described as low-paid jobs, classed at under €30,000 per annum.

Fees for renewing permits will also be increased and partners and dependants of the future permit holders will have to apply for a permit in their own right.

The Government will also remove a number of job categories from the existing roles eligible for green cards, mainly across the health and financial sectors.

Under the new rules, migrant workers on permits who are made redundant will be prohibited from taking up a new job unless it is has been publicly advertised for two months.

Fr Bobby Gilmore of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland said:. “Forcing people into the informal economy will not create jobs for Irish workers. It will encourage exploitation and it will be a loss to revenue. Have we not learned our lesson from the Irish experience in the United States and elsewhere?”

SIPTU’s Gerry McCormack said: “Our concern is these changes will lead to greater exploitation of highly vulnerable workers, and will undermine standards for all workers in Ireland.”

The protest will take place outside the office of Employment Minister Mary Coughlan at 12pm.

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