Human Rights and Equality Commission, Ibec and ICTU Publish New Employers Guide for Hiring Asylum Seekers

International Human Rights Day Marked with New Call to Employment

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the Commission) is asking employers across Ireland to use the significant skills, experience and qualifications of people seeking asylum in Ireland to build and grow their businesses.

New Commission guidance published today and backed by Ireland’s Business Employers Group Ibec and Trade Union Representative Body ICTU, provides clear accessible information on employing international protection applicants – people seeking asylum. The publication has been brought together through the Commission’s Worker and Employer Advisory Committee.

The booklet entitled “Employing International Protection Applicants” is launched on International Human Rights Day. Every year on 10 December, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the day when, in 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The new guidance sets out:

  • What a person’s international protection status means for their employability.
  • Examples and experience from Irish based businesses such as software development company Zartis, and Deloitte Ireland.
  • The guidelines for employers on employing applicants.
  • What a Labour Market Access Permission is, what it looks like and how it allows access to employment, self- employment and vocational training.
  • Links to, and explanations of, the forms needed to employ someone seeking international protection.

International Protection Applicants have the right to work in Ireland only since June 2018. As the numbers who have since applied to work illustrate, they are eager to find employment and use their existing qualifications, experience and skills. As this is a recent development, many employers may not know about it and miss out on the opportunity to tap into this pool of talent.

Latest figures show that since July 2018, of the 9,187 people who applied for permission to work, 6,837 international protection applicants were granted permission to work. Based on employer return declaration forms, 60% or 4,091 are in employed or self-employed work. 2,913 people are living in Direct Provision and working. 1,178 are working and living independently.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“International protection applicants come from a wide range of countries and cultural backgrounds and bring with them a range of qualifications, skills and experience, including proficiency in different languages.

“Since 2018, people seeking International Protection in Ireland have been able to seek work, but not enough employers know how to access this talent pool.

“This guidance published today on International Human Rights Day, is about matching the skills, qualifications and talent of the people seeking asylum in Ireland to an employer’s business need.”

David Joyce, Equality Officer, Irish Congress of Trade Unions stated:

 “People seeking international protection in Ireland can be eligible to work in Ireland.  But being eligible and being able to secure employment are two very different things If they can’t find the jobs or employers who recognise their qualifications and experience to provide the decent work they need. This guidance aims to change that by answering in clear ways the questions employers might have about employing people seeking international protection.”

Dr Kara McGann, Director of Social Policy, Ibec stated:

“Employers need people with qualifications, drive and experience. Utilising these skills and harnessing the talent offered by people seeking International Protection can be an additional driver for the competitiveness and growth of business in Ireland, and help us respond to the changing needs of our economy. I urge industry large and small to pick up this guidance and consider how accessing these skills can help diversify and grow their businesses.”


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

Read the full Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission booklet entitled “Employing International Protection Applicants”

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.