Press Statement: 18th of January 2021
The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) welcomes the decision taken by the Minister for Justice to review the expulsion notices that were given to asylum-seeking healthcare workers. The two migrant healthcare workers who initially spoke out against this appalling decision to expel them from Ireland have since been granted leave to remain. The expulsion notices that were served on migrant healthcare workers who had dedicated their lives to protecting vulnerable Irish nationals in nursing homes were simply cruel. They caused a lot of distress on those directly affected and should never have happened.
Canada recognised the contribution of migrant workers by offering permanent residency status to healthcare workers. And France is fast-tracking citizenship for migrant healthcare workers. No such schemes have been introduced in Ireland, Instead, we had healthcare workers being told to decide if they are going to leave Ireland voluntarily or be deported. The Minister for Justice has discretionary power to grant long-term residency to any non-EU national, and the power to waive any of the requirements for naturalisation and grant citizenship. Now would be the time to do the right thing by making use of such discretionary powers.
MASI reiterates the call we made in May 2020 to the Minister for Justice to offer long-term residency to all non-EU nationals in the State during the pandemic. Further to that, the Minister for Justice must exercise her discretionary power to review and revoke all pending deportation orders, especially those served during the pandemic. The fact that the deportation orders cannot be acted upon due to the Covid-19 restrictions does not make the situation better as people in the asylum system lose their right to work and entitlement to supports once a formal deportation order has been served on them.
About MASI – the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland is a grassroots organisation based in Ireland. We are people who are or have been in the asylum and direct provision system in Ireland, working and advocating together for justice, freedom and dignity for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Our focus is on the Right to Education and the Right to Work for all people seeking asylum, on the complete abolition of direct provision and an end to deportations.