707. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice the status of work permits for persons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12737/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Access to the labour market for international protection applicants is provided for under the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations (S.I. No. 230 of 2018). These Regulations give effect to Directive 2013/33/EU of 26 June 2013, laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast), and came into operation on 30 June 2018. The Regulations provided access to the labour market for an applicant who has not received a first instance decision within 9 months of making an international protection application.
The European Communities (Reception Conditions) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No. 52 of 2021) amended the labour market access permission provisions of the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018, to reduce the timeframe for labour market access from 9 to 6 months and to extend the validity of a labour market permission from 6 to 12 months. These Regulations make statutory provision for the new labour market access measures that I announced in January 2021.
It is the responsibility of the international protection applicant themselves to apply for a labour market access permission. An application cannot be made on their behalf by a prospective employer. However, a prospective employer may assist the applicant, particularly where language difficulties may arise. Employers’ responsibilities are laid out in Regulation 14 of the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018. These include an obligation to keep certain records and to inform the Labour Market Access Unit (LMAU) of my Department when a permission holder is employed or ceases to be employed. This is done in cooperation with the permission holder using the LMA5 form.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the LMAU currently have limited access to the office and postal applications are unfortunately severely delayed. For this reason, all applicants are advised to email their application to LMAUapplications@justice.ie.
To renew a permission, the applicant should submit the LMA4 form, a copy of their in date Temporary Residence Certificate (TRC) and, if employed, an LMA5 form to LMAUapplications@justice.ie These forms should be submitted one month before the applicant’s permission expires to allow time for processing. The LMAU are currently processing emailed applications received approximately two weeks ago.
Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may also be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility at: INISOireachtasMail@justice.ie, which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Question process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in the cases where the response is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.