Agony of Job Seeking International Protection Applicant

This month i.e. September 2019, I have applied for a third extension of my Labour Market Access Permission.

You must be wondering, it might be because of the great employment I am enjoying and extension would be just to retain it. 

No No, your assumption is totally misconceived. You know or in case if you don’t know, as a law graduate with a legal practitioner background from my country of origin, I am not left with many job options here in Ireland. Though it is not that I am being very picky, it is just that I have applied to all sorts of jobs and as per the responses, for some I am overqualified and for some, I lack the relevant experience. Previous two work permits, one original and the second one as an extension, I only acquired with a hope to find a job yet it has led to nothing but despair and disappointment. I wasted my two work permits just looking for a single job.

When I look at the job market, I find all sorts of job, but every job requires a specific skill set. As a lawyer from a non-EEA country, my bachelors in law is not acceptable for practice here although it is acceptable for pursuing LLM. I need to sit in the FE1 exam before setting foot into legal profession once again and even after that it is a career to build from scratch as I would be required to do an internship/apprenticeship once again. I went through this procedure in my country of origin once, it took me 8-10 years to build something noticeable, whereafter I was forced to flee. Now I don't feel like mustering that kind of stamina again. But still, I am a law graduate and supposedly overqualified for many jobs and irrelevant to various job sectors. 

After the expiration of my second work permit, which is normally after six months only, I was not planning to renew it as I was not hopeful for finding any luck with jobs but out of the blue a nice lady from a nice recruitment agency invited me for a meeting to be hired for a nice receptionist job which obviously immediately ignited in me once again the dying flames of hope to find a career in Ireland as an International Protection Applicant. I said as an IP Applicant because on the occasion of success of my International Protection Application I would be eligible for work like any other Irish National and hopefully then it would not be so hard to find a job. So this time I applied for an extension in the hope of getting that receptionist job I was offered by that nice lady of a nice recruitment agency.

In the meeting, It was all good until she found out that I was an asylum seeker, after that she did not even bother to discuss that receptionist job with me. She said she could only help me with her personal contacts and not otherwise. She was just being nice, I know. Nothing is gonna happen though.

You know during the time when I was unable to pursue LLM due to lack of money and support in Ireland. I tried to upskill myself with Software Testing and Digital Marketing courses, as they were being offered free of cost and I passed them with flying colors. They make a good part of my CV yet they remain unable to land me a job in that sector as well. 

There are also many vacancies for drivers and despite being able to drive I am unable to acquire a license as this liberty is not afforded to asylum seekers even with work permission.

Currently, I am doing nothing, being jobless I feel as if something is dying inside me. I am no more passionate about a lot of things called life. Life seems dull and boring, feels like I am chained with invisible chains and being strangled by invisible hands, I want to move but can't, I want to breathe but feel suffocated. There are many asylum seekers and I salute them who spent 10, 11 or so years enduring this system, being workless, feeling worthless, before the availability of even this meager work permission which is, in fact, lame in many ways. Lame in a sense that it is available to those who are new in the system and have not received the first decision in the first 9 months of applying for asylum. Employers don’t understand and trust this permission, apparently, it is only for six months and there are many who were already past their initial phase of 9 months when this law came into force. Secondly, if you receive a first negative decision and go on to appeal it before the lapse of initial 9 months then you cannot obtain it, no matter how long it is going to take after that.  Though I still salute the person who stood up against joblessness of asylum seekers, dragged it into the courts and forced them to play their part in granting this though very limited and lame work permission which might not have worked for many but at least have benefited a few.

Now, I don't know what to do, I have not done any other job than advocacy yet it seems as if employers with office admin or legal secretary vacancies don't trust a person in my kind of situation. Should I wait for the decision on my Asylum Application or what? I don't know. This lack of knowledge and confusion is killing me from inside. I am losing hope. My senses are not making any sense anymore, I am stuck at some random thoughts for hours, seems impossible to come out of this mental agony. I don't know where this would take me and when this would end. I am still looking for an answer to this simple question whether this is a problem with my educational credentials or a problem with my legal status of being an asylum seeker. What is that which is causing trouble in the eyes of employers while employment for me still seems far from happening in the near future?

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  2. It is horrible. But mostly because employers are not informed about your permission to work. I talked to a business meeting a couple of weeks ago. I had 60 seconds to talk and in that time I talked about the enormous potential that resides in DP centres. Not one of the employers present was aware of the right to work, two have already approached me for more information and have said they are willing to hire asylum seekers. It is all about informing the people concerned and this FG government has done none of that.
    I am making it my mission

    1. Agreed that employers are not informed and the duty has been left to Asylum Applicants to explain themselves if they are ever called for an interview for job.

  3. What a well written, eloquent insight. It is inconceivable that there is no role for you in Ireland and that your status as refugee is what prevents you from being interviewed is shaming. I have experience a taste of this perverse xenophobia and have resorted to using my maiden name - Mulligan at times. I encourage you to write more about this stain on the Irish psyche.