Monday, June 15, 2009

Ireland to crack down on illegal Bulgarian, Romanian immigrants

The Sofia Echo

Ireland's employment rights agency Nera will launch a check to find close to 5000 Romanians and Bulgarians suspected of working illegally in the country, The Times of London reported on June 14.

"The get-tough campaign was revealed in briefing notes prepared for Dara Calleary, the new junior minister at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and released under the Freedom of Information Act," the newspaper said.

Any Irish company found to have hired staff without the appropriate permits could be fined up to 250 000 euro or imprisoned for up to 10 years, according to the report.

Ireland is one of the European Union countries that decided to keep their labour markets closed to Romanian and Bulgarian workers when the two countries joined in 2007. The interdiction runs out in 2011.

Nera director Ger Deering was quoted as saying that his agency had a list of 2000 companies suspected of employing illegal Romanian and Bulgarian workers. "We’ve been asked by the minister to look into this," he said.

Non-EU citizens, along with Romanians and Bulgarians, can only apply for permits in certain industries. All jobs have to be advertised for eight weeks — up from four — to EU citizens before non-EU workers can apply, The Times said.

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