Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
131. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the progress made to date in regard to the process of consultation with the social partners in regard to the question of access to the Irish labour market for workers from Bulgaria and Romania following the accession of those countries to the EU; the form this process has taken; when it is expected to be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34033/06]
138. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the actions he will take to examine or deal with the possibility that significant numbers of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, who will be allowed to freely travel to Ireland from January onwards, may obtain employment in the black economy and therefore be subject to abuses by exploitative employers but will be unable or unwilling to report these abuses because of their legal situation; the additional actions he will take to ensure that the small number of employers who might exploit these people do not do so, and to catch those who do; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37747/06]
150. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will outline his position regarding whether he will continue restrictions to citizens of Bulgaria and Romania in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the accession in view of the Government’s recent announcement regarding the access of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens to the Irish labour market following their accession to the European Union in January 2007, and with regard to his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 5 of 11 October 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37746/06]
I announced on 24th October 2006 that the Government had decided to continue to require that nationals of Romania and Bulgaria apply for work permits in order to participate in the Irish labour market, on these countries’ accession to the EU on 1st January 2007, but that preference would be given to them over nationals of non-European Economic Area countries.
I also indicated on that occasion that the Government was informed in its decision by the very significant inflow of labour migrants Ireland had experienced since May 2004, when nationals of the EU 10 Member States were allowed to participate in the Irish labour market without work permits. The views of IBEC and ICTU were sought and received in writing and the position of other Member States on the issue were also taken into account. The Government felt that on this occasion, it was appropriate to take stock, be cautious and concentrate on addressing the integration needs of those who had already come to live and work in Ireland.
As regards the possibility of employment in the black economy and of exploitation, my Department is, as part of the Towards 2016 Agreement, putting in place a range of employment rights compliance and enforcement measures to combat these.
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