You would not believe how I have been dismayed by one of the very famous institutions in the county Cork. My status of being an asylum seeker made them so uncomfortable that they did not accept me on an Irish fee. I am not gonna name the college here as the purpose of this blog is not to defame anyone but education and information.

This year I applied for two courses at the same time, both of level 5, one was IT maintenance in commerce college and the other one was software development in an unnamed college. The test for both of the courses consisted of four papers including maths and English as well. I passed the test with high grades and was appreciated by the testing authority and offered a place on both of the courses in both of the colleges. But by the stroke of luck through an ad in the newspaper, I learned about software tester course in the Cork Training Centre and I joined that before even I was called for the pre-test for the above mentioned two courses by the above mentioned two colleges. So at the time of sitting in the pretest for above-mentioned courses, I was already a student of Cork Training Center, thankfully.

After passing, no institution questioned my eligibility to join the education/training on the basis of the labour permission I acquired from the Justice office and gave me admission on the basis of that but strangely enough, the unnamed college refused to give me admission on a Level 5 course. As it was clarified by the justice office in a booklet LMA 7as distributed by them in the Asylum Accommodation on page 11 that;

Can I access further education and training?

“Access to the labour market may allow for access to further education or training (FET) or third level courses that have an employment, vocational or workplace-training component. Your letter of permission from the Minister to access the labour market can be used as proof of your eligibility to work. Information regarding Further Education and Training can be obtained at your local Education and Training Board (ETB), or your local Intreo Centre or your Local Employment Service (LES). While access to the majority of these programmes is free of charge, participation in Post Leaving Certificate and higher education programmes will continue to be subject to the payment of fees”

As per this information I was eligible for education in a level 5 course for free or on Irish fee but I don’t know what prevented the unnamed college from giving me admission. I was admitted to Cork Training Center with no questions asked and totally free. I was given admissin in the Cork college of Commerce with no questions asked in a level 5 course in IT maintainance but I liked software development more than IT so I thought I would join that one in the unnamed college and got my name removed from commerce college. But Lo and Behold, the unnamed college did not give me admission at all on an Irish fee.I protested vehemently with a kind soul in the management of that college. As of now, she is trying hard to check the possibilities of me being allowed to sit in the class on an Irish fee as per the rules of Justice office.  It’s 11 September 2018 today, let’s hope it goes well and she finds a way for me to be allowed to sit in the class.

These are the hurdles which we face on daily bases, though I am in Ireland for over three years now and I am a legally resident person as per the EU directive Article 2(2).

“legally resident in the Union’ means where a natural person has the right to reside in a Member State by virtue of Union or national law, including consumers with no fixed address and persons seeking asylum under the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol thereto of 31 January 1967 and other relevant international treaties.”

As per the Irish Law from the revenue website of the Irish Government I am an ordinarily resident person.

“How to know if you are ordinarily resident for tax purposes
If you have been resident in Ireland for three consecutive tax years, you become ordinarily resident from the beginning of the fourth tax year.
If you leave Ireland after this time, you continue to be ordinarily resident for three consecutive tax years.”

So I have accrued some rights by legally residing in Ireland and by getting the labour permission enhanced the level of those rights but still do always remember, you are an asylum seeker and it's better if you keep your mouth shut and wait for the authorities to take pity on you. The guy who got us the work permission by filing a law suit in the court. remained without work for over eight years in Direct Provision. He said that while in the direct provision on a €19 weekly allowance, he suffered depression and loss of autonomy and being allowed to work was vital to his development, personal dignity and “sense of self-worth”.

But I presume still there is a long way to go before we could expect some positive decisions from the authorities. 


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