Asylum seekers and work

 

Sir, – Your editorial “Asylum seekers: Government must show leadership” ( January 24th) states approvingly that the Department of Justice has said that “access to the labour market for eligible asylum seekers will be ‘more generous’ than under the work permit system”.

I find it unjust that someone who comes to Ireland legally and follows all our immigration laws should be penalised compared to someone who arrives in Dublin Airport and declares, “I want asylum”. Our asylum laws are meant to help people fleeing persecution or conflict. They should not be a backdoor for obtaining a work permit or a residency permit. While many asylum seekers may well be refugees, most are not. According to the Asylum Information Database, in 2016 Ireland gave refugee status to only 21 per cent of asylum seekers. I agree that the Government should show leadership. It should start by enforcing our immigration laws, making all decisions within six months, and deporting all failed asylum seekers as quickly as possible. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN KELLY,

Athlone, Co Westmeath.