Justice for the Undocumented Group (JFU) and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) have launched research into the lives of over 1,000 undocumented migrants in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch, Tjanasi Jack, chair of JFU said “This survey shows that undocumented people are at the heart of our communities; we are your friends, your neighbours and your co-workers. We need a clear and fair solution.
"The findings show that over 75 percent of us have been living in Ireland for five years or more and that 93 percent were in employment.
"So many of us have stepped up and continue to work providing essential services throughout Covid-19. Unfortunately the survey also reveals high levels of exploitation, with over a quarter of workers not receiving the minimum wage. This is unacceptable”.
Zeinab, living undocumented in Ireland for 3 years said, “Sometimes I am not paid the full amount, other times I am not paid at all. If I had my status I could stand up to this. I could get a better job and give my children a better future.”
In June, the new coalition government committed in the Programme for Government to introduce a new regularisation scheme for undocumented workers, children and young people within 18 months of taking office.
Karuna, living undocumented in Ireland for 10 years said, “My 5 year old daughter was born here, this is the only home she knows. This scheme will offer her the opportunity she deserves.”
Neil Bruton, Campaign Worker with MRCI concluded, “Schemes that offer a pathway to papers are commonplace across the EU. Today we are calling on the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee to bring in a scheme that is broad and inclusive, so that people can live safely and securely and thrive in their home.”
Some of the key findings of the research found that 75.5 per cent of those surveyed have been living in Ireland for five years or more. Meanwhile, 93 per cent said they were in employment working to support themselves.
In terms of the type of jobs that undocumented migrants have, many are working in vital sectors of the economy.
27 per cent are providing care to older people in private home settings. 17 per cent are working in cleaning and maintenance, 10 per cent in childcare and five per cent in construction.