A right to work would help ‘restore dignity’ to refugees

A right to work would help ‘restore dignity’ to refugees

An historic ruling by the Supreme Court against the prohibition on a right to work for asylum seekers has been welcomed as an opportunity to restore the dignity of those living in direct provision.

Stephen Ng’ang’a, the coordinator of Core Group of Asylum Seekers, told The Irish Catholic the right to work would mean “asylum seekers would live like normal people”. “It is a human rights issue,” he said. “The current handout mentality kills people’s skills and their mental health is broken by the system because they are not treated as human.


“The McMahon working group also made this recommendation and I hope the Government will heed these two credible bodies and be pro-active in their response,” he said.

Bishop McAreavey, chair of the Bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace, urged politicians to allow migrants already living in Ireland to contribute to our society and encouraged policymakers to balance the Government’s duty to manage resources with the parallel duty to treat asylum seekers humanely.

“Removing the ban on work means that people in direct provision centres are more likely to integrate and be part of a rich, diverse and yet more unified society; asylum seekers will recover their self-respect through work and we all will benefit from their skills and gifts,” he said.


Eugene Quinn, JRS Ireland National Director said a right to work will “enable a person seeking asylum to live with greater dignity and affirm their sense of self-worth while awaiting a final determination of their claim”.

“Two years ago a Government appointed Working Group, of which JRS Ireland was member, recommended giving asylum seekers a right to work after nine months, in line with all other EU member states except Lithuania. In light of the Supreme Court ruling JRS Ireland is urging the Government to give immediate effect to this recommendation,” he said.