What is the change? Ireland has begun accepting applications for work authorization from applicants for international protection.

What does the change mean? Applicants are eligible to access the Irish labor market under the new program if they (1) are applying for international protection, (2) have not received a first instance recommendation within eight months after submitting an application and (3) have cooperated with the international protection process such that any delays in receiving a decision are not their fault. Successful work authorization applicants will be given an employment permit valid for six months, renewable if they still have not received a final decision on their international protection at the end of that time. The application for labor market permission is available here.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. Ireland began accepting applications Monday.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment permits.
  • Who is affected: Asylum seekers who want to work in Ireland.
  • Impact on processing times: Applicants for employment permits are not likely to experience delays as this labor market access permission (LMAP) is being processed by a new Immigration and Naturalisation Service division called the Labour Market Access Unit (as opposed to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovtion, where employment permits are ordinarily processed).

Background: Ireland’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s ban on work authorization for asylum seekers last year. Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan accepted a recommendation to opt in to the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive (2013/33/EU) as a means of complying with the court judgment and providing work authorization to international protection applicants.

Authorities implemented interim measures to provide asylum seekers access to the labor market in February. The EU subsequently approved Ireland’s decision to opt in to the directive. Authorities began accepting applications under the directive on Monday, and the interim scheme is now closed.

Those who received self-employment permission under the interim measures and still have not received a first instance recommendation will automatically be granted permission to access the labor market for six months. Those who have received a first instance recommendation, but not a final decision, may apply to renew their self-employment permission. Presumably, those who obtained an employment permit under the temporary access program should apply for labor market access permission, as access to the scheme has been closed to new applicants since June 28, but this position will need to be clarified by DBEI and INIS.

BAL Analysis: Following last year’s court ruling, Ireland has endeavored to expand work opportunities for asylum seekers. Those with questions about whether they are eligible to work while their application for international protection is pending should contact BAL.   

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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