Self-employment permission

The Minister for Justice and Equality is setting up an administrative scheme to provide eligible international protection applicants with permission to be self-employed. To be eligible for this scheme you must, on the date you apply for a permission under the scheme be waiting on a first instance recommendation on your protection application for 9 months or more. You must also have made reasonable efforts to establish your identity and have cooperated with, and not otherwise delayed the protection process. If on 9 February 2018, you have already received a first instance recommendation on your protection application, you are not eligible for this scheme.

Please note that the Labour Market Access Unit of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service should be contacted in regard to applications for self-employment only. All applications for access to the labour market as an employee should be directed to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Full details can be found on the Department’s website www.dbei.gov.ie by following the link to ‘Employment Permits’.

1. About this permission

The Government has introduced a temporary interim measure for access to the labour market from 9 February 2018 until the date of entry into force in the State of the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive.

Once the Directive enters into force, the Government has said that increased access to the labour market will be provided for applicants. Information will be made available at that time as to what new rights this access will bring and when it will be introduced.

The grant of a permission to be self-employed, or the acceptance by the Minister of any statement made by the protection applicant in the course of his or her application for the self-employment permission, will not prejudge the outcome of or have any bearing upon the international protection process.

The information provided in the application for a self-employment permission may be disclosed to other Government Departments, An Garda Síochána and State agencies, which provide labour market services in order to verify the information provided in the application, including the protection applicants’ identity and entitlement to access State supports. Information concerning any permission granted may be disclosed to third parties for the purposes of verifying the validity of the permission. The INIS Labour Market Access Unit may be required to consult internally to confirm some details of your international protection application, which are relevant to this application.

This information is not legal advice and does not give a legal interpretation of any of the legislation or processes referred to.

2. Eligibility and conditions

To be eligible for this scheme you must, on the date you apply for a permission under the scheme be waiting on a first instance recommendation on your protection application for 9 months or more. Any delay must not be caused as a result of your own actions.

You must also have made reasonable efforts to establish your identity and have cooperated with the protection process, including having returned your completed Application for International Protection Questionnaire (IPO2). The International Protection Office may be asked to confirm that these statements made by you are true. You must also register with the Revenue Commissioners on www.ros.ie to be tax compliant.

I have a Dublin transfer decision. Am I eligible?

If you have received a transfer decision for another EU Member State to examine your application for international protection under the Dublin Regulation, you are not eligible for this scheme.

If your application for international protection is being transferred to the State from another EU Member State, you will not be eligible to apply for access to the labour market, until Ireland has been finally determined as the Member State responsible for examining your international protection claim.  Periods of time spent in other Member States will not be counted for the purpose of determining eligibility.

Does this only apply to applicants living in accommodation provided under the Direct Provision system or to all applicants?

The measures outlined above will apply equally to all eligible applicants, regardless of whether or not you are living in accommodation provided under the system of Direct Provision.

3. How to apply

You can access the application form here.

Application form (Version 1.0 published 08 February 2018)

Document icon Application for International Protection Self-Employment Permission (PDF 114KB)

or to receive a hard copy, you can write to the INIS Labour Market Access Unit at PO Box 12931, Freepost FDN5264, Dublin 2 or email lmauqueries@justice.ie. The application form will be posted to the address held on file for you by the International Protection Office.

How do I complete the application form for permission to be self-employed?

You must include a clear copy of your temporary residence certificate (TRC) and one passport-sized colour photograph with your application form. If you are submitting your application online these documents may be scanned and attached to your application.

You must confirm on the form that you meet the eligibility criteria – that on the date you apply for a permission under the scheme [the date your application for a permission is made], you are waiting on a first instance recommendation on your protection application for 9 months or more, and that any delay is not caused as a result of your own actions, that you have made reasonable efforts to establish your identity and that you have cooperated with the protection process.

You must sign the declaration on the application form to confirm that these statements are true. These details may be checked with the International Protection Office.

Applying by email:

As you must sign the application form, if you are completing and submitting online, you must print a copy of the completed form, sign and scan the document to the INIS LMAU at lmauapplications@justice.ie. Your Personal ID number must be entered on the application form. All mandatory sections must be completed. Incomplete or unsigned renewal applications cannot be processed and will be returned. If you are returning your application by post, please also write your Personal ID number on the back of the photograph.

Applying by post:

Completed application forms, along with all required documents, can be submitted by post to INIS Labour Market Access Unit, PO Box 12931, Freepost FDN5264, Dublin 2

4. Decision and managing permission

If the Minister approves your application, you will be granted a six-month permission to be self-employed.

This permission will be posted to the address currently held on file for you by the International Protection Office (IPO). If you have changed your address, you must request a change of address form from the IPO by telephone or in writing* and complete and return the form before applying for a permission under this scheme. This permission will expire immediately if you get a final decision within this six-month period. This permission may be renewable after the expiry of the six-month period if you are still awaiting a final decision on your protection application.

* Postal address: International Protection Office, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, 79-83 Lower Mount St., Dublin 2, D02ND99. Phone: +353 1 602 8008.

Applying for renewal of permission by email:

You should apply to the Department of Justice and Equality one month in advance of its expiry to ask for a renewal.

The application form for renewal of your permission is available here.

As you must sign the application for renewal of permission form, if you are completing and submitting online, you must print a copy of the completed form, sign and scan the document to the INIS LMAU at lmauapplications@justice.ie.

Your Personal ID number and original Permission number must be entered on the application form. All mandatory sections must be completed. Incomplete or unsigned renewal applications cannot be processed and will be returned. If you are returning your application by post, please also write your Personal ID number on the back of the photograph.

Applying for renewal of permission by post:

Completed application forms, along with all required documents, can be submitted by post to INIS Labour Market Access Unit, PO Box 12931, Freepost FDN5264, Dublin 2

The renewal of permission letter is not an identity document.

5. Contact details

See full list of websites and contacts

Organisation/Department

Contact Details

Labour Market Access Unit Queries

Email: lmauqueries@justice.ie

Labour Market Access Unit – Email address for Applications

Email: lmauapplications@justice.ie

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Employment permits web page

Employment Permits Online System (EPOS)

Employment Permits FAQs

Email: employmentpermits@dbei.gov.ie

Tel: 01-4175333

Lo-Call: 1890 201 616

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Web: https://www.revenue.ie/en/starting-a-business/index.aspx

Citizens Information

Web: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/

Tel: 0761 074000

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

www.welfare.ie

Intreo Centres, Local and Branch Offices

Education and Training Boards

http://www.etbi.ie/etbs/directory-of-etbs/

6. Frequently asked questions

A downloadable information booklet giving information about access to the workforce for International Protection Applicants is available here.

First instance recommendation explained

The International Protection Office will consider all relevant information in respect of your application for international protection (both refugee status and subsidiary protection) as part of a single application procedure and will prepare a recommendation based on this. The recommendation will be one of the following:

  1. that you should be given a refugee declaration,
  2. that you should not be given a refugee declaration but should be given a subsidiary protection declaration, or
  3. that you should be given neither a refugee nor a subsidiary protection declaration.

If you are refused refugee status or both refugee status and subsidiary protection, you will be sent:

  1. a statement of the reasons for the recommendation,
  2. a copy of the report containing the recommendation, and
  3. information on how to appeal this recommendation to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT).

Back to 'Eligibility and conditions'

Final decision explained

You may appeal a recommendation not to grant you international protection (either refugee status or both refugee status and subsidiary protection) to the IPAT. A final decision is made when all appeals procedures, including any judicial review proceedings, are concluded.

Back to 'Decision and managing permission'

Can I access further education and training?

Access to the labour market may allow for access to further education or training (FET) or third level courses that have an employment, vocational or workplace-training component. Your letter of permission from the Minister to engage in self-employment can be used as proof of your eligibility to work.

Information regarding Further Education and Training can be obtained at your local Education and Training Board (ETB), or your local Intreo Centre or your Local Employment Service (LES).

While access to the majority of these programmes is free of charge, participation on Post Leaving Certificate and higher education programmes will continue to be subject to the payment of fees

Will I qualify for social welfare payments?

As an international protection applicant with a right to seek employment, you may have entitlement to the following Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection supports:

  • Employees with children who are in full time employment (38 hours per fortnight or more), may qualify for the Working Family Payment (formerly known as Family Income Supplement), subject to satisfying the eligibility criteria. This scheme is subject to a means test.
  • If you are an employee earning more than €38 per week you will pay Class A PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions. Your employer will pay a PRSI contribution for you and you will also pay a PRSI contribution once your earnings go over €352 per week. Class A employees may qualify for the full range of social insurance payments subject to meeting the qualifying conditions.
  • If you are self-employed you will pay a Class S contribution once your income exceeds €5,000 per year. Class S contributions cover self-employed people for certain social insurance payments subject to satisfying the qualifying conditions.

Access to the labour market does not automatically lead to eligibility for any social welfare payment. As an international protection applicant, you do not satisfy the habitual residence condition, which is an eligibility requirement for certain social welfare assistance payments, including Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Further information is available on www.welfare.ie.

Can I access Public Employment Services?

Yes, you can access Public Employment Services through your local Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Intreo Centre who may support you in seeking further education, training and employment.

If I am working, will my weekly Direct Provision Allowance payment be affected?

Your weekly Direct Provision Allowance will continue to be paid if you are working. This position may change following the opt-in by the State to the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive.

If I am working, can I remain in the accommodation provided to me under the Direct Provision system?

If you are working, this may affect your entitlements to the range of support services available to you from the State as a non-working person seeking international protection.

A contribution towards the costs of your accommodation provided under the Direct Provision system and related supports may be required once the State opts into the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive, if you have sufficient resources, including if you have been working for a reasonable period. This will be done by assessing your means or income.

People with their own means are able to source and provide their own accommodation and may no longer be dependent on the State’s Reception Centres.

Asylum seekers and the right to open a bank account

The EU Payment Accounts Directive(i) was transposed in Ireland by way of the European Union (Payment Accounts) Regulations 2016(ii) . As a result, since 18 September 2016, any consumer who is legally resident in the European Union and who does not already have a payment account with a credit institution in the State has the right to open and use a payment account with basic features.

Regulation 15 of the European Union (Payment Accounts) Regulations 2016 explicitly states that a consumer who is legally resident in the European Union (within the meaning of Article 2(2) of the EU Payment Accounts Directive)(iii) has this right regardless of his or her place of residence and regardless of whether he or she has a fixed address, is an asylum seeker, or is a consumer who has not been granted a residence permit but whose expulsion is not possible for legal or practical reasons.

A payment account with basic features is like a regular payment account in several respects, but does not offer credit facilities i.e. overdrafts. All of the credit institutions provide payment accounts with basic features. These accounts are free of charge for the first year for regular payment transactions in euro within the European Union. The credit institution may charge a reasonable fee for non-euro transactions and transactions to non-EU countries.

Where the consumer lodges less than the equivalent of national minimum wage to the account in a year (currently €19,240) the account stays free of charge on a year-by-year basis for five years. After that, the credit institution can charge reasonable fees.

When opening a bank account the standard documentation which may be used for the purpose of verifying identity is one item of photographic ID (typically to verify name and date of birth) and one item of non-photographic IDs (typically to verify address). This does not prevent the use of two documents under the heading "Photographic ID" for the identification of name, date of birth and address. Depending on the risk assessment of the customer, additional ID verification may be required.

Guidelines on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing are available on website of the Department of Finance(iv) . Appendix 2 of these guidelines is a non-exhaustive and non-mandatory list of alternative documents that can be used to verify identity in circumstances where a prospective customer cannot, for justifiable reasons, meet the standard identification and verification requirements, or has experienced difficulties in the past when seeking to open accounts.

  1. Directive 2014/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014.
  2. S.I. No. 482 of 2016.
  3. "legally resident in the Union’ means where a natural person has the right to reside in a Member State by virtue of Union or national law, including consumers with no fixed address and persons seeking asylum under the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol thereto of 31 January 1967 and other relevant international treaties."
  4. http://finance.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Criminaljustice2012.pdf
 

Contact

If you have questions, contact us.

Updated: 14 February 2018

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