For Oral Answer on : 22/03/2022
Question Number(s): 30 Question Reference(s): 14683/22
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the measures her Department is taking to assist and support migrants to access employment; the way in which such measures are evaluated; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Pathways to Work 2021-2025, the Government’s national employment strategy, was published in July of last year. The strategy outlines 83 commitments aimed at reducing unemployment back to, or below, pre-pandemic levels and to support inclusive employment outcomes for those who, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, faced disadvantage in the labour market.
One such group that face additional barriers in the labour market are migrants. These barriers are varied, as ‘migrants’ refers to a diverse group. Consequently, addressing these barriers requires a range of actions, many of which are captured in one of the Pathways to Work’s five key strands, namely ‘Working for All – Leaving No one Behind’. This strand outlines steps that are being taken to promote better labour market outcomes for all, including groups such as migrants.
All eligible jobseekers, including migrants, can access Public Employment Services supports to seek referrals and access to employment opportunities. Intreo and its partner organisations will deliver targeted support measures that are specific to migrants such as the provision of English language and integration classes and increased access to further education and training opportunities via Education and Training Boards.
Moreover, since December 2021, my Department, through its Intreo offices, will promote more referrals of people most distant from the labour market, including migrant groups, who meet the eligibility criteria, to the Community Employment scheme. For migrants experiencing disadvantage, such as those with refugee status, there are additional supports available such as earlier access to JobsPlus. Refugees in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance are eligible for JobsPlus without any qualifying period.
In terms of evaluation of Pathways commitments, progress made with respect to the delivery of its 83 commitments is reported on a quarterly basis. External oversight of the strategy falls under the remit of the Labour Market Advisory Council, which will provide me with an annual report outlining its view on progress, remedial actions that may need to be taken and any new actions that it considers should be included. This report will be published on the Department’s website in Q4 of each year.
Furthermore, a formal review of the strategy will be undertaken with the Labour Market Advisory Council and an updated strategy will be published in 2023. This robust oversight will ensure that Pathways to Work adapts as necessary to future labour market challenges.