276. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person who received a first instance decision from ORAC under the Refugee Act 1996 but has since been brought under the single procedure to be re-interviewed and has yet to receive a first instance decision under the International Protection Act 2015 is eligible to apply to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation for an employment permit and-or the administrative scheme to provide international protection applicants with permission to be self employed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7181/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that on Friday last, 9 February, the Supreme Court made a Final Order striking down the prohibition on the right to seek work for protection applicants in the International Protection Act 2015. This effectively means that all applicants in the protection process may now apply for an employment permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. This is an existing scheme and the same conditions for eligibility are now being applied to international protection applicants as for all other non-EEA nationals. Full details can be found on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation's website at www.dbei.gov.ie
In addition to the employment permits regime, the Government decided to set up an administrative scheme to provide eligible international protection applicants with access to self employment from 9 February. In this regard, I used my executive power to provide an avenue for qualified applicants to engage in self-employment. International Protection applicants who have not received a first instance decision within 9 months of the date of their application, if the delay is not through their own actions, who have made reasonable efforts to establish their identity, who have cooperated with the protection process and who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners are qualified to apply for a permission to access self employment.
In the situation outlined by the Deputy, the applicant can apply for an employment permit from the Department of Enterprise, Business and Innovation. The applicant would also be eligible to apply for the self-employment scheme operated by my Department in accordance with the conditions outlined above.
The Deputy will be aware that the arrangements outlined above are interim in nature pending Ireland’s opt-in to the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive as set out in various statements in the Oireachtas and elsewhere. See for example my statement on 9 February available on www.justice.ie.