Justice for undocumented migrants necessary given public health advice

15 October 2020

Ivana Bacik

Responding to a survey conducted by the Justice for the Undocumented campaign of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), Labour Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration Senator Ivana Bacik has highlighted the urgent need to provide a pathway for undocumented migrants in Ireland to regularise their status.

She said,

“I thank the Justice for the Undocumented group and the MRCI for undertaking this important study into the demographics and living and working conditions of undocumented workers in Ireland. The survey results are worrying but not surprising.

“The report found that more than a quarter of undocumented migrants working in Ireland earn less than the statutory minimum wage, while half are working more than a forty-hour week.

“Notably, more than a quarter of respondents work as carers for older people; one fifth work in hospitality; one tenth work in childcare; and nearly a fifth work in cleaning and maintenance. The sectors in which undocumented migrants work are those which have remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Undocumented workers have provided vital care for us and our loved ones during one of the greatest challenges in the State’s history. However, the precarity of their status makes them vulnerable and less likely to receive basic entitlements such as paid sick leave. Given the worsening public health situation and need for those displaying symptoms of coronavirus to stay at home, this is simply not sustainable - a regularisation scheme must be introduced without delay.

“Upon the formation of this Government, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party did commit to providing a pathway for undocumented persons in Ireland and their dependents to regularise their legal status. In light of these troubling findings, I welcome news from Minister McEntee that her Department will publish a paper on such a scheme in coming weeks and look forward to examining the detail of this plan. This matter is simply to important for us not to take urgent action; the Labour Party will engage cooperatively in ensuring that adequate protections are given to undocumented migrants.”