Undocumented Workers in Ireland Entitled to Government’s Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all, regardless of immigration status. For this reason, the government’s decision to include undocumented workers within its Covid-19 Unemploment Payment scheme is crucial.
This payment is open irrespective of immigration status to those who are employees/self-employed individuals who have lost their job or have been laid off as a result of the Coronavirus and those who have a valid PPSN number.
Crucially, however, those who voluntarily left their employment or self-employment are unable to access the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Regrettably, concerns have been raised regarding those undocumented migrants in the State who have never worked and who cannot find work now due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, those who wish to apply for any form of social welfare in Ireland must have a PPS number.
While many undocumented migrants in Ireland do in fact have a PPS number, this isn’t always the case. This makes it increasingly difficult – especially at a time such as this – to access welfare and support.
Undocumented migrants in Ireland are offered support during Covid-19
The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) estimates there to be around 15,000 to 17,000 undocumented migrants in Ireland, with 29 per cent of these individuals working as carers.
What this means is that many of those currently putting their lives on the line to fight Covid-19 are in fact considered ‘illegal’ migrants, despite their selfless efforts and invaluable work.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 across Ireland and the UK, the Irish government has confirmed that all Irish residents – whether documented or undocumented – can apply for hardship payments and access information from social welfare services without fearing the consequences.
Beyond the crisis, the plight of undocumented migrants cannot resume.
The Irish government is believed to have established a firewall to protect undocumented migrants which means that, while migrants will be required to provide their personal information to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection when applying for these payments, this information will not be shared with the Department of Justice and Equality during the pandemic.
This should offer some much needed reassurance to those with insecure immigration status in Ireland who are fearful of applying for social welfare.
Many of those currently putting their lives on the line to fight Covid-19 are in fact considered ‘illegal’ migrants, despite their selfless efforts and invaluable work.
Many migrants who are deemed ‘illegal’ and ‘undocumented’ in Ireland often avoid seeking help and support from authorities in an attempt to prevent drawing attention to themselves. In the middle of a global pandemic, this can prove fatal.
Medical assistance must be open to all – without fearing the risk of arrest or deportation. For this reason, the government’s decision to suspend the sharing of personal information between departments at this time has been well received.
It would be both detrimental to individual health and wider public health to abandon undocumented migrants throughout this crisis. However, beyond the crisis, the plight of undocumented migrants cannot resume.
For decades, those with insecure immigration status have worked, resided and paid taxes in Ireland. Campaigners are therefore continuing to urge the government to regularise the status of undocumented migrants in Ireland.