15th February, 2016
The Scheme for Employment of Non-EEA crew members in parts of the Irish commercial sea-fishing fleet was launched today by Minister for Justice & Equality Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Simon Coveney and Minister of State for Business & Employment Ged Nash.
The Scheme is an extension of the Atypical Working Scheme, administered by the Department of Justice & Equality (Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service), and is being introduced following a series of recommendations made by the Government Task Force on Non-EEA workers in the Irish Fishing Fleet in December 2015.
Minister Coveney welcomed the launch of the Scheme stating “This will provide a structured and transparent framework for the employment of non-EEA workers within defined segments of the Irish commercial sea-fishing fleet and should meet the crewing needs of the Irish whitefish fleet. The requirements of the Scheme will minimise the risk of exploitation and ensure that these workers are guaranteed all appropriate employment rights and protections during their period of employment.”
Minister Fitzgerald said “I am happy that my Department is in a position to make a significant contribution to a whole of Government solution in this area. You can only provide an immigration regime when you have in place an employment framework for the sector and the work of the task force was instrumental in delivering that”.
Minister Nash, who brought together the group of bodies responsible for various aspects of enforcement related to the Scheme, welcomed the launch of the Scheme and encouraged skippers to avail themselves of its provisions. Commenting on the development of a Memorandum of Understanding by the relevant bodies (see list below) in relation to monitoring and enforcement of the Scheme, the Minister added: ” I chaired the meetings of the group of bodies and our work has culminated in an MOU between the Parties. Its purpose is to provide further coordination and cooperation between the Parties to ensure the effective enforcement of statutory requirements in relation to the employment of non-EEA nationals on Irish-registered fishing vessels, and in particular, to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of workers on such vessels. The Government considers this to be is a vital component of the Scheme and essential in seeking to prevent future bad practice in the sector”.
As recommended by the Task Force, from 15 February 2016 to 15 May 2016, the Scheme will apply to existing crew members only. After 15 May 2016 all non-EEA workers intending to work in the fishing industry must first obtain an Atypical Worker Permission from INIS and Visa clearance, if applicable, prior to entering the State.
Prior to applying to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service for an Atypical Worker Permission, the contract of employment (and supporting documentation) between the non-EEA worker and the vessel owner must first be lodged with the Central Depository, National Seafood Centre, Clonakilty, Co. Cork.
Detailed information on the Scheme is available on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) website, www.inis.gov.ie, or the Government’s commercial sea-fishing network portal, www.fishingnet.ie.
Note to Editors:
The Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding for the Monitoring and Enforcement of the terms of employment of non-EEA crewmen in parts of the Irish commercial Sea Fishing Fleet pursuant to the establishment of the Atypical Worker Permission Scheme are:
-Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation
-Department of Justice & Equality / INIS
-Department of Transport Tourism and Sport/Marine Survey Office
-Department of Defence (Irish Naval Service)
-An Garda Síochána
-Bord Iascaigh Mhara
-Health and Safety Authority
-Office of the Revenue Commissioners
-Sea Fisheries Protection Authority
-Workplace Relations Commission
Insofar as the Central Depository is concerned:
-Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
The MOU will be published following signature by representatives of each for the above Parties.