Barriers Facing Asylum Seekers in Accessing Employment – Statement from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Responding to today’s announcement by the Minister for Justice of a reduction of the waiting period for asylum seekers to be able to seek employment, Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“This is a welcome development, the Supreme Court set out clearly in the NHV case that people seeking asylum have a constitutional right to be able to access employment.

“The Commission remains extremely concerned however about administrative barriers, which undermine and block asylum seekers access to Ireland’s workplaces.

“Being able to access work is fundamental to a person’s dignity. Discriminatory barriers to accessing both driving licences and bank accounts continue to undermine the Supreme Court’s landmark recognition of asylum seekers’ right to work.”

“The Commission has consistently raised the practice of asylum seekers being excluded from accessing drivers licences and bank accounts as a serious one, and has supported legal challenges in this area. We believe that action can and should be taken to remedy this by the Government and Ireland’s high-street banks, as this blockage represents a further barrier to employment.”


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,
01 8589601 / 087 0697095