Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 07 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Migrant Workers.
Mr. Eamon Ryan Mr. Eamon Ryan
317. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he intends to seek a change to Ireland’s approach to the seven-year transition period for labour mobility as agreed under the accession treaties. [4407/06]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin: I have no plans to change the policy regarding the access of EU-ten nationals to our labour market.
Ireland has had strong employment growth for a sustained period and skill shortages exist in many sectors. The presence of migrant labour in Ireland is critical to the continuation of our economic growth. I have asked FÁS to review the labour market effects of immigration. This work is still in progress. A preliminary report is expected shortly.
Mr. J. Higgins Mr. J. Higgins
318. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if, in view of the strong inflow of migrant workers into Ireland, and the fact that many depend on private employment agencies, whose only goal is profit maximisation, the sector will be investigated to stamp out exploitative practices. [3830/06]
Mr. Killeen Mr. Killeen
Mr. Killeen: Employment rights legislation makes no distinction as between Irish and migrant workers. To avoid doubt on this, section 20 of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time) Work Act 2001 provides that all employee protection legislation on the Statute Book applies to workers posted to work in Ireland in line with Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 16 December 1996.
This directive relates to the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and applies also to a person, irrespective of his or her nationality or place of residence, who has entered into a contract of employment that provides for his or her being employed in the State or who works in the State under a contract of employ ment. Thus, all employee legislation applies to migrant workers recruited by employment agencies to work in Ireland under a contract of employment.
The employment rights compliance section of the Department, which includes the labour inspectorate, applies the same principles in the discharge of its functions and, accordingly, makes no distinction as between Irish and migrant workers when undertaking compliance checking or investigating complaints. Where possible, the inspectorate will investigate any specific matters brought to its attention once they fall within its powers and remit. There are limitations, however, to what the inspectorate can reasonably achieve. Such limitations arise, for instance, where there are concerns regarding activities that occur outside Irish jurisdiction, and particularly outside the EU. The Internet is another area where there is little capacity to address concerns unless there is an Irish-based representative who can be contacted and influenced.
Arising from the Government’s commitments under Sustaining Progress, a review of the Employment Agency Act 1971 is taking place. As part of this process, in June 2005, the Department issued a White Paper on the review of the Act. The deadline for submissions was 15 July 2005. A total of nine submissions were received. The Department is examining these submissions.
This Bill will, inter alia, propose a system of registration of employment agencies based in Ireland, supported by an industry regulatory code which will set out in detail, the practices and standards that employment agencies would be expected to follow.
Notwithstanding the caveats mentioned earlier, I urge anyone who has evidence of the mistreatment of workers to furnish all the relevant details and any related materials to the inspectorate with a view to pursuing the matter.
Dáil Éireann 614 Written Answers. Migrant Workers.