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For Written Answer on : 17/01/2024
Question Number(s): 1076 Question Reference(s): 1115/24
Department: Justice
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Justice  the number of labour market access permission applications received by her Department from international protection applicants in each respective year from 2018 to 2023, inclusive; the number of applications granted in this period; the number of applications currently outstanding; the current estimated processing time for such applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


Since its introduction in June 2018, under the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 230 of 2018), the labour market access permission issued by my Department, has had a very positive impact for international protection applicants and employers alike.

Applicants are eligible to apply if:

• They are an international protection applicant; and
• They have waited at least 5 months from their “Application Received” date for their first instance recommendation; and
• They are cooperating with the international protection process – delays in receiving a recommendation must not be attributable to the applicant.

Following that, a person will be issued a permission for labour market access if, at 6 months, they have not yet received a first instance recommendation. This permission is valid for 12 months and may be renewed until a final decision is made on the person’s international protection application.

A significant increase in the number of applications was experienced during 2023, reflecting the increase of overall applications for international protection received since 2022. There has also been an increase in renewal applications. 

Currently the processing time for labour market access applications (both first time and renewal) is approximately 145 days and there are approximately 3,000 applications currently outstanding.

The immigration services of my Department utilise the resources available in order to ensure that applications are processed in the shortest time frame possible. I can assure the Deputy that the unit in question is working to finalise applications as quickly as possible and appreciate customers’ patience as they deal with the very high levels of applications. My Department is also reviewing the processing arrangements generally to establish if they can be further streamlined.

The table below details the number of first time and renewal labour market applications received and granted by my department since 2018.

Total Labour Market Access Applications Received  323057926739508191339497
Total Labour Market Access Permissions Granted    1950506557564777638610155

 *Data correct at time of issue and may be subject to data cleansing.