Minister Calleary condemns exploitation of migrant workers
Minister for Labour Affairs, Dara Calleary T.D. today (Thursday 22nd April 2010) condemned any practices by employers that may result in non-compliance with employment rights entitlements or any other mistreatment of employees.
The Minister was responding to the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) who have received a number of complaints of violation of workers rights particularly involving workers who hold work permits. Minister Calleary said: “Ireland’s Employment Rights Legislation establishes the minimum statutory rights applicable to all people working in Ireland whether they are Irish citizens or otherwise. I would urge all who are subject to illegal exploitation by an employer or those who know of such exploitation, to contact the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA). I would also point out that if an employment permit were not issued in respect of a particular employment with a particular employer then it would be much more difficult to ensure that an employee's rights were respected.
In relation to concerns expressed by work permit holders, who wish to change employer, the Minister said: “The Department is already facilitating those who wish to change employers - for whatever reason - with new employment permits. Last year, it issued almost 1,500 employment permits in respect of employees changing to new employers”.
Minister Calleary also pointed out that, except in exceptional circumstances, employees, who are in receipt of their first work permit, are normally expected to stay with their initial employer for a period of 12 months but then they may move employer provided that a new application for a work permit is made for the same employment sector or to another eligible employment. This is not a particularly onerous requirement, having regard to some of the conditions imposed internationally".
In addition, where exceptional circumstances arise, for example in cases of obvious abuse or exploitation, my Department makes every effort to facilitate the employees concerned in changing employers.
The Minister pointed out those employers who contravene Employment Permits legislation may be liable for fines ranging from ¤5000 up to ¤50,000 and/or imprisonment for a period from 12 months up to 5 years.
Last modified: 22/04/2010